Author: Nicholas Little

Evolution of Green Value Chains

Railways, passenger and freight, need to think and behave differently to survive and prosper. Headlines like this one from a McKinsey & Company January 2022 article by Jordan Bar Am, Nina Engels, Sebastian Gatzer, Jacqueline Lang and Frank Sänger of the company’s Consumer Packaged Goods Practice drive the point home: “How to prepare for a sustainable future along the value chain.”

Supply Chains: Broken Beyond Repair?

Never before in our recent memory has so much focus been put on “supply chains.” The popular press has added the term to the language of the everyday person. We hear things like: “I went to the store today and the items I wanted were out of stock. Must be a supply chain problem.” Railroads are part of the supply chain, but few people realize or understand it.

Why No Railroads?

Aug. 5, 2021, saw SupplyChainBrain publish its list of its “100 Great Supply Chain Partners of 2021.” The list includes many shippers, 3PL logistics companies, ocean carriers and intermodal organizations as well as trucking

Be Informative and Collective. Raise Awareness and Perceptions

A year ago, news was emerging from Wuhan, China about a new, dangerous form of flu. My stepson and his Chinese-born wife wisely cancelled their planned trip to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year with her family. Since then, we have all experienced significant disruption to our lives.

How Well is Rail Intermodal Integrated into Supply and Value Chain Behavior?

The container shortage Contributing Editor Jim Baze talks about in his commentary, “Enough Intermodal Market Hype!” is fast becoming a big issue. China’s box production lead time now exceeds three months and is growing. This may be in part due to the deficit of boxes going back East from West Coast ports, partly because they aren’t getting them from the Midwest, as his numbers show. “Why not?” is the important question.

There May Be No New “Normal”

In response to Jim Blaze’s interesting “Railroad Mega-mergers” article from earlier this week, I’m not sure that the historical perspective will apply in a developing “new normal” business economy in the United

Look to the Future

Nick Little is Director of Railway Education at Michigan State University Broad College of Business Center for Research and Education. Following is a letter he sent to Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono in response to the latter’s May 3 editorial, “Leaving Behind Precambrian Attitudes.”

  • News

Collaboration, Communication in a Post-COVID-19 World

The past weeks have been unique in most of our lives. First, our special thanks go out to all of you employed in the essential business of rail transportation, both freight and passenger, for putting yourselves “in the front line” and risking your health to serve us all.

Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

On March 3, 2020, Railway Age published my early observations on the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential impact on North America’s freight railroads. In just over three weeks, our world has become a very different place.