For shippers and intermodal marketing companies, booking intermodal shipments can be a time-consuming process involving piecing together scheduling information from different rail providers, creating a patched-together, cross-country route for their customers. In a world where real-time end-to-end supply chain visibility, transparency that not only covers the transportation path of each shipment but the manufacturing journey as well, collecting schedules from myriad carrier websites is laughingly outdated.
Putting all the hassle of intermodal scheduling firmly in the past, Blume Global has partnered with Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and CSX to provide a single source for domestic intermodal interline schedules. IMCs and other intermodal users can now achieve greater visibility and better efficiency when moving cargo from one railway to another and make sure freight is flowing as efficiently as possible.
“The availability of interline intermodal rail schedules is something that has never been done before; previously, railroad intermodal customers would have to piece together this information from multiple sources,” said Blume Global’s Tom Koontz. “This is the next piece in the puzzle of providing comprehensive, real-time supply chain visibility.”
An added feature available with the schedules, Blume’s asset management solution tracks details around the movement of intermodal rail shipments and how they interchange. Additionally, Blume validates the real-world movement of freight delivery schedules with the ability to catch missing interchange points and improve accuracy with future deliveries.
Blume looks to add more railroad schedules that will fuel its digital twin of the supply chain world, Blume Maps.
“The schedule service is also part of larger Blume effort to consume and display the available relevant schedules across multiple modes including sailing schedules and air freight schedules,” Koontz said. “Supply chain users can leverage this capability to orchestrate the movement of their shipments, as Blume will be able to assign an accurate expected transit across multiple modes, track the progress, and predict exceptions with enough time to suggest alternatives while there is still time to change a shipment’s path.”
Blume Maps allows customers to plan, track and adjust freight shipments, no matter the mode. Customers use Blume Maps to first plot routes using variable lead times, cost implications, and intelligent historical data. Next, they monitor shipments with end-to-end visibility and continuously updated ETAs to ensure orders are traveling on time, receiving notifications when orders may be late or early. When shipments are late, customers can use Blume Maps to view recommended alternate modes, carriers, service levels, and routes to bring shipments back on track.
Blume Global has a long history with Class I railroads, and this association puts the company the unique position to offer an innovative solution to a decades-old issue. The supply chain visibility provider began life in 1994 as Rez-1, a company that provided asset management, billing, domestic reload and other services to the domestic railroad industry. Blume Global grew out of this close association with the railroads and intermodal users in 2018 as a global supply chain technology provider. This long history of intermodal supply chain data was the foundation of Blume's offerings, as the new leadership team rebuilt all offerings as cloud-first solutions geared toward solving contemporary supply chain challenges.
“Coordination among railroads is essential. Utilizing a neutral platform that encourages further collaboration among the rails, IMCs and other users will influence the future of all cargo deliveries,” said Seana Fairchild, assistant vice president of premium marketing at Union Pacific. “At Union Pacific, we are eager to deploy this intelligence as a means to meet increasingly higher demands from our customers.”
According to Maryclare Kenney, vice president of intermodal and automotive at CSX, “Blume’s ability to monitor container availability and interline rail schedules enable our customers to run more efficient operations. This solution is a helpful planning tool for IMCs looking to send shipments from one coast to the other.”
Blume Global, a single source of truth for real-time supply chain visibility and logistics execution, is offering complimentary access to domestic intermodal interline schedules after free registration.