Transportation Consulting

Examples of Transportation Consulting Experience …

  • Railroad, Intermodal, Truck, and Barge Transportation

  • Fleet Optimization & Management

  • Service Issues and Contract Negotiations

  • Empty Repositioning and Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

  • State Rail and Operations Plans

  • Railroad Jurisdictional Threshold & Maximum Rate Determination

Rail Transportation

L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. has been solving economic challenges related to rail transportation for over 60 years. During this time we have seen many changes to the rail industry, including the consolidation of Class I railroads, the use of fuel surcharges, introduction of Positive Train Control ("PTC"), significant productivity gains achieved by railroads through new technologies and the ever evolving captive shipper protection by the U.S. government.

As the railroad industry has evolved, our Firm has also evolved to meet the needs of our clients. We have helped our shipper and carrier clients navigate through the shifting business climate by offering services to improve profitability, including cost studies, contract negotiations, litigation support, policy impact analysis, rail rate forecasting, and proprietary model development.

Our many years of working on rail issues has allowed us to develop significant expertise in all operational and financial aspects of rail service. Much of our work involves the shipment of bulk commodities and freight, but we also specialize in the following areas:

Examples of Rail Transportation Experience …

  • Rail service negotiations and contracting
  • Rail Rate Reasonableness determinations
  • Contract auditing and dispute resolution
  • Rail asset management

Intermodal & Trucking

The intermodal freight industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Not only is intermodal a lower cost alternative to trucking, it is also more time-efficient and greatly decreases traffic on American highways. Our firm has extensive experience in this growing sector and can help manage the complex variables involved with intermodal transportation. Our tools and experience allow us to study and optimize any intermodal shipping strategy.

Our Firm’s experience dates back to the early days of intermodal transportation. As we watched the industry grow, we helped shippers grow and scale intelligently. This experience is invaluable in contract negotiations. We have experience with Class I intermodal divisions, IMCs, major truck carriers, drayage companies, steamship lines and we are familiar with the complex interactions between the major players in this industry.

One major challenge of intermodal shipping is Empty Repositioning. Cost-effective and timely repositioning of empty containers is critical to the success of any intermodal shipper. Our firm analyzes intermodal loads, Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) movements, and empty repositioning to determine where costs can be reduced and efficiencies can be gained.

Shortline & Regional Railroads

L. E. Peabody & Associates Inc. provides strategic services to short line and regional railroads. The Firm's core competency is in rail transportation economics and in providing direction to maximize profitability. Our efforts have resulted in improved short line and regional railroad profitability by identifying and implementing productivity gains related to improved operations, cost containment, and effective cost accounting.

The Firm provides a variety of services that aid in the development and profitability of shortline and regional railroads. Our strategic planning, feasibility studies and due diligence investigations are just a sample of the many services we can provide, we also specialize in the following areas:

Examples of Shortline & Regional Railroad Experience …

  • Evaluation of the marketplace and competitive environment for pricing strategies, contract and divisions negotiations and compliance monitoring
  • Railroad accounting and operations reporting, analysis, and benchmarking
  • Design of simple cost analysis processes tailored to meet short line needs
  • Engineering estimates of rehabilitation costs and establishing program maintenance schedules
  • Valuation analyses for line acquisitions, sales and abandonments, as well as estimating property tax assessments of line acquisitions and sales
  • Design and implementation of capital and operations budget procedures
  • Deprescription analyses for negotiations and/or arbitration proceedings
  • Railroad regulatory basis costing and economics for use in abandonments, joint facilities, trackage rights, merger analyses, etc.

Operations Planning

Efficient operations are of critical importance for any rail service. L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. has decades of experience developing and improving operating plans for Class I and shortline railroads. Our Firm has the tools and experience to test the feasibility and efficiency of proposed operating plans or to quantify the impact of proposed changes to existing operating plans, preventing costly mistakes due to unforseen bottlenecks. Our capabilities allow us to ensure our client's operating plan is maximizing speed and minimizing cost. We use various operations simulation software to navigate the many challenges railroads and shippers face. Let us help you create an operating plan that will minimize costs and maximize on-time performance.

State Rail Planning

There are many complex interactive factors to consider when developing a state rail plan. For example, planners must ensure that any projects and improvements to the rail network are in compliance with federal regulations from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), and the Surface Transportation Board (STB). A properly designed rail plan should improve rail efficiency while reducing congestion on the state's roads. Ideally, a state rail plan will improve passenger rail service, road congestion and freight rail efficiency. Once our Firm has a proper understanding of the challenges and opportunities of a particular state's rail network, we begin working to optimize the use of the state's resources. Our suggestions for strategic investment of rail capital or operating plan changes will allow any state to optimize its rail network to relieve pressure on commuter roads and highways.

Passenger Rail

L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. has been involved continuously in mass transportation and commuter rail service for the past six decades. Since that time, L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. has conducted avoidable cost studies using our research and data capabilities in combination with our experience with commuter operations, commuter costs, service and operations. We have also been involved in the evolution of rail passenger service costing methodologies. Our Firm has assisted passenger agencies in federal and state rule-making proceedings which established guidelines for determining commuter service costs. We also specialize in the following areas: Examples of Rail Passenger Transportation Experience…

  • Facilities Utilization Plans, Manpower Utilization Plans, and Force Re-deployment Analyses
  • Passenger revenue and ridership issues
  • Shared use line development
  • Liability and risk management for commuter agencies
  • Studies of passenger operation alternatives and train scheduling.

Barge Shipping

Shipping by barge is often a cost effective alternative to rail or truck shipping and can be an unavoidable requirement for overseas shipping. Our Firm has experience evaluating barge shipping alterternatives to help our clients cut costs and improve efficiency. Where inland waterways are present, barge shipping can be an effective alternative to rail and can potentially allow access to additional rail carrier options, creating rail rate competition where there was none before. We evaluate our clients' shipping lanes to determine if there are cost effective alternatives that may include partial or end-to-end barge service.

Contract Negotiations

L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. enjoys extensive experience in many facets of economic evaluation of the marketplace and effectively and efficiently brings this expertise to the negotiating process. Whether on a behind the scenes basis or by direct participation in face-to-face negotiations, L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc.'s expertise, used in conjunction with our diversified databases and benchmarking techniques, has been used to the demonstrable advantage of our clients. The Firm provides economic justification and support across the entire spectrum of negotiating activities.

Our negotiating objectives have always been to provide and present incisive negotiating data aimed at prompt and successful resolution of the many different component parts of a successful agreement between the parties. This philosophy is brought to bear throughout the negotiating process, from preliminary and easily resolved issues to the settlement and signing of complex contracts. The Firm is also noted for its ability to negotiate features included in agreements and contracts which serve to our clients' benefit throughout the term of the negotiated agreement.

During the course of performing our assignments, L. E. Peabody & Associates, Inc. has developed both a series of proprietary negotiating processes and a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which enhance and facilitate negotiations. The processes are analytically rigorous and produce significant savings to the client in an expeditious manner. Through use of these tools, we ensure that strategic decisions are based on the economic value of each option, that the most effective strategies are developed, and that all proposals are quickly and accurately evaluated.