Rail is often characterized as one of the more “old school” transportation options, but recent developments in the space have challenged that narrative. Railroad giant CSX, for example, is dedicated to investing both financial and human capital into a myriad of emerging technologies. 

“Over the past year, we continued a multi-year modernization plan for our ShipCSX customer service platform, adding new tools and functions,” according to Kevin Boone, CSX Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “We also pursued projects introducing alternative fuels for locomotives, advanced GPS shipment tracking, and upgraded wayside defect detection systems.”

Growing these solutions allows CSX to offer an improved customer experience while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions and enhancing safety – creating a comprehensive winning scenario.

Each of the company’s ongoing technological investments benefits shippers, either directly or indirectly through improved service and sustainability.

Improvements to the ShipCSX platform, for example, make it easier for shippers to conduct business with CSX by introducing more advanced business tools, better shipment management features and greater transparency into the location of shipments on the rail network. 

At the same time, the company’s new carbon calculator helps shippers achieve their sustainability goals by enabling them to calculate potential carbon savings associated with rail. This means CSX customers can visualize the future ecological impact of their shipments before they ever leave the warehouse. 

Other new and upgraded safety technologies are aimed at protecting freight and preventing incidents that may delay service, all supporting shippers’ operational and customer service goals.

“We’re able to provide more transparency into the supply chain than ever before, and we’re developing new products to provide a more seamless shipping experience for rail customers,” according Boone.

CSX continues to make these high-value tech investments at a time when shippers are eager to take advantage of economic, environmental and safety advantages of rail. By modernizing the way rail works, CSX is making it easier than ever for shippers to embrace rail and access those advantages.

“CSX’s industry-leading service performance, combined with improved customer service tools and systems, is providing service reliability comparable to trucks but with the advantages of rail,” Boone said.

CSX is also introducing new service solutions that combine long- and medium-haul rail with first-mile/last-mile trucking to provide dock-to-dock freight delivery, further bridging the gap for shippers hoping to utilize more rail options in 2024. 

Additionally, the company is hoping to make rail more accessible by making it easier than ever for expanding companies to find new properties already located near railroads.

“We’re using technology to help customers locate rail-served properties for new facilities, and we’re investing in our intermodal terminals, TRANSFLO bulk transloading facilities and warehousing options to further meet customer needs and provide the most efficient, cost effective and sustainable supply chain solutions,” according to Boone.

CSX has made it clear that its commitment to technological evolution is just getting started. 

“Leveraging technology for transformation is one of the three pillars of our long-term strategy, along with fostering an inclusive workplace culture and growing the business by continually delivering a better customer experience,” Boone said. “We will continue to allocate a significant portion of our annual capital budget to technological innovations that enhance safety and make it easier for customers to do business with us.”

For example, CSX is currently nearing completion of a project to consolidate its pricing and rating documents into a single modern pricing infrastructure. 

The company has also rolled out a program called InnovationX with dedicated development funding that invites employees to submit innovative ideas. So far, more than 300 ideas have been submitted, and 13 have advanced to proof-of-concept testing. Several are already being implemented.

Click here to learn more about moving goods with CSX

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