Progressive Railroading: Railroads, shippers assess damage wrought by two historic storms

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— By Julie Sneider, Senior Associate Editor

Article excerpt:

"Houston-based Commtrex Inc. — an open electronic exchange that connects shippers with rail assets, storage, service providers and data — offered free listings during and immediately after Harvey to help shippers with routing, storage and asset availability and repair. Within a week, the exchange experienced a 400 percent increase in storage requests in southern and central Texas. Commtrex Chief Executive Officer Martin Lew took calls from customers who were scrambling to find available storage facilities for rail cars because their usual providers were also affected by the storm.

“Because Harvey was such an outlier event, customers had to look outside their typical patterns,” said Lew, whose own employees struggled to get to the office during the storm and its aftermath."