Norfolk Southern Corp. www.nscorp.com
David R. Goode, chairman, president and chief executiveRailroads face several huge challenges in their efforts to gain market share. Increasingly, the transportation marketplace demands reliability and convenience; low cost is always important, but only after the first two demands have been made.
At Norfolk Southern, we are tackling the problem on a number of fronts. First, market coverage is essential to compete with the door-to-door convenience of trucks. NS now has a system that serves a majority of the major truck markets in North America.
Second, we have tackled the convenience factor by providing an ever-growing portfolio of trucklike services -- from premium trains run for UPS and others, to door-to-door retail service by Triple Crown, to extensive cross-dock operations supporting the automotive parts market. This effort has required a huge investment in terminals and roadway, but the facilities and capacity are now in place.
Third, we are well under way to achieving our vision of a scheduled railroad. NS continues to implement our scheduled railroad plan, adjusting along the way for changes in business levels.
In the past, we have sought to bend the marketplace to fit rail technology. We gave discounts for heavier loading cars and trainload shipments. That business model allowed us to survive, but at the loss of revenue market share. The challenge now is to adapt rail technology to the vast number of customers who don't even consider railroads as part of their logistics solution.