What types of problems do you encounter when there is bad weather or natural disasters? (Xavier Zermeno)

Xavier Zermeno

When a service interruption occurs, regardless of its root cause (bad weather, natural disasters, workforce disputes, etc.), usually the product that is trapped in the pipeline (tracks) is the one that the customer needs the most (Murphy's law).

The main issue to resolve is how to provide the goods shipped to the customer in the most cost-efficient, rapid manner. Communication with the customer is essential in order to provide a realistic clear picture of the situation, probable timing for the rail service to be resumed, and how long it will take for the volumes trapped in the bottlenecks (rail yards, congested tracks, etc) to come back to normal.

Having a "B" and "C" plan in place before a contingency happens is always a good idea, especially having agreements in place with stakeholders that can be useful such as other rail Terminals, truck carriers, and even competing railroads.

Being honest and having straightforward communications with the customer is a must, in order for them to understand what risks are involved while shipping by rail (clearly the benefits outweigh these risks) and what control trench each party is responsible for.

In this new normal era, sometimes it is better for customers to forget about the "just in time" inventory strategy and implement a "just in case" one.