FIERCE RAIL, TRUCK FIGHT FOR PERISHABLES SEEN COMING

Shippers' groups and railroad officials report that piggyback unit trains hauling perishables from the West Coast are less than a day behind trucks into Chicago, and closing fast. According to rough estimates from the transportation section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a truck hauling perishables from Salinas, Calif., to Chicago can make its delivery in an average time of 60 hours, or 2 1/2 days. Daily Santa Fe piggyback unit trains can make the same run into Chicago trainyards in about the same average time--65 hours--leaving only additional hours for truckers to off-load refrigerator trailers from flatcars and deliver them to local supermarkets within a 30 mile radius of the rail terminal. The faster piggyback service follows an ICC decision to exempt perishable-commodities from rail regulation on May 28 of last year. Now, railroad officials are hoping to encourage companies and shippers involved in perishable traffic to "think rail" by offering rockbottom rates, more service crews and longer unit trains for refrigerator trailers moving from the West Coast into the central United States via Chicago. If the plan is successful, truck operators hauling exempt perishables from the West Coast into Chicago can expect to lose business, experts say, especially if fuel prices continue to escalate and inflationary trends in current economic forecasts drive truck operating costs through the roof. (Author)

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Transport Topics Incorporated

    1616 P Street, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20036
  • Authors:
    • Cutler, D
  • Publication Date: 1980-3-17

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00311332
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 27 1980 12:00AM