Norfolk Southern (NS) has launched a pilot incentive program at its Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo., international intermodal terminals in an aim to ease pandemic-related congestion.
Under NS’s Dual Mission Reward Program, truck carriers and steamship lines can earn a $200 incentive every time a drayage driver brings in and departs with a shipping container, completing what the Class I railroad calls a “dual mission,” at the Landers Intermodal Facility in Chicago—its largest terminal handling international freight—and at the Kansas City Intermodal Facility.
NS said it will pay the $200 once a truck carrier or steamship line completes dual missions at least half the time over a certain period.
Currently, truckers who deliver an international container to an NS intermodal terminal leave empty about 85% of the time, the railroad reported, noting that’s “due largely to marketplace challenges associated with coordinating the journey of containers between customers in the U.S. and abroad.”
Beyond increasing efficiencies, the initiative has the potential to generate sustainability benefits. At Landers, for instance, the initiative has the potential to eliminate roughly 46,000 truck trips, reduce fuel use by 546,000 gallons, and avoid more than 5,600 metric tons of carbon emissions annually if truckers complete a dual mission at least 50% of the time, according to NS.
“Trucks leaving the terminal that were formerly empty now become loaded, productive miles for the truckers,” NS Group Vice President of International Marketing D’Andrae Larry said. “The amount of truck time saved by gaining an immediate load versus leaving the terminal to find a load, the emissions reduction, the employee productivity gains are all wins for sustainability in the marketplace.”
The railroad said it developed the initiative while brainstorming with customers and truckers on ways to help unclog bottlenecks across the transportation supply chain. “We continually look for ways to partner with our customers and the marketplace to drive efficiency and achieve our goals for growth and productivity,” Larry said.