Norfolk Southern has been awarded the 2008 Performance Excellence Award for Rail Origin Carrier of the Year by American Honda. The award is in recognition of the company’s work at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant in the US, which makes the Odyssey minivan and Pilot SUV, as well as V-6 engines.
According to Norfolk Southern Director of Public Relations, Susan Terpay, the company received the award for the exceptional service provided by local Norfolk Southern crews at Lincoln, together with the redesigning of the rail service in a single lane of traffic.
Norfolk Southern transports Odysseys and Pilots about 970 miles (1,560km) from the Lincoln plant to the auto distribution ramp at Ridgefield Heights, New Jersey.
“Trains departed on schedule from Lincoln about 7pm each night moving via Atlanta en route to New Jersey,” explained Terpay. “Norfolk Southern was meeting its service commitments to get shipments from Alabama to Norfolk Southern’s rail yard at Croxton, New Jersey. But in this busy northeastern freight rail corridor, delivering the finished vehicles to Honda’s nearby auto ramp was more challenging.
She continued: “In late March Norfolk Southern began a project to redesign the service in this lane for Honda by prioritising the placement of Honda’s rail cars, working closely with train crews and operations. In a matter of weeks, NS was able to reduce transit time in this lane by nearly 30 hours. The result: Honda vehicles get to dealers more quickly, and both Honda and Norfolk Southern reduce their operating expenses.”
Norfolk Southern supports an annual output capacity at Lincoln of 250,000 vehicles of which roughly 80 per cent move outbound by rail. (The V-6 engines do not move by rail.)
The Lincoln to Ridgefield Heights lane is Norfolk Southern’s highest volume lane of business for Honda.