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Rail Transport

One challenge for both the 2015- and 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity constraints. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand.

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High-Roof Vans Causing OTD Delays

Railroad backlogs impacted ship-thru units requiring upfitted equipment in the 2015-MY. Not only is there a rail-car shortage, but there were also logistical delays in loading and unloading rail cars due to the higher volume of high-roof vehicles. The limited number of rail cars that can accommodate the larger, high-roof vans created a backlog at assembly plants and caused delays in shipping to and from upfitters.

Rail's Role in Vehicle Transport

Rail’s role in vehicle transport can be glimpsed up-close at Union Pacific’s auto facility in Mira Loma, Calif., where new vehicles are shipped from manufacturers via rail.

OEM Report Card: Order to Delivery

For commercial fleet managers, the delivery times of light-duty vehicles can often fall prey to the availability of rail cars, quality holds, weather-related delays, and other production factors.

Car Order-to-Delivery Stable, Truck OTD Times Increase

Vehicle volumes increased for the 2014-MY due to ongoing industry growth, while strained logistics systems, which were further exacerbated by rail-car shortages, severe weather and quality holds, caused longer lead times in the truck and van segment.

The ‘Perfect Storm’ in Rail Congestion Turns Fleet into Collateral Damage

Fleet order-to-delivery (OTD) has been brutal this model-year due to severe weather conditions, which exacerbated rail congestion, creating huge backlogs of vehicles needing to be shipped. However, some are beginning to believe the rail congestion experienced this winter is more of a symptom of a systemic infrastructure weakness and not solely the consequence of severe weather. Here's why they think so.

OTD Concerns Due to Surge of Oil Shipped by Rail

The railroad industry is the primary long-distance shipper of automobiles from assembly plants to dealers, which represents almost 9 percent of total rail freight. However, the auto industry is not the only railroad customer, and it competes with other shippers for scarce rail resources. Such is the case with petroleum companies shipping crude oil by rail, which is putting heavy demand on finite rail resources. What impact will this have on fleet OTD?

Increased Upfit Volume & OEM Quality Holds Create Backlogs at Upfitters

Upfitters are feeling the pressure from the increase in the number of upfitted vehicles requiring a ship-thru, which is overwhelming some installers and body builders. Also, many upfitter-related OTD issues are the result of OEM quality holds. Oftentimes, upfitted units are held at the body company due to limited storage space at the assembly plants caused by quality hold backlogs. This prevents the release of upfitted units into OEM traffic for final delivery via ship-thru/freight re-entry.

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