KCS obtains efficiencies from new Tex Mex operating plan (5/22/2002)


As part of Kansas City Southern's and Grupo Transportacion Maritima Mexicana S.A. de C.V.'s late March sale of Mexrail Inc. to TFM S.A. de C.V., the parties agreed that KCS would operate and TFM would market The Texas Mexican Railway Co.

To smooth the transition, KCS recently developed a new operating plan for Tex Mex aimed at reducing transit times for traffic moving to and from Mexico.

And so far, KCS has registered success in clearing traffic before it reaches the U.S./Mexico border, according to a statement prepared May 21. For example, Tex Mex in March averaged 200 cars per day awaiting clearance; the current daily average is 58 cars.

KCS also reduced border transit times from three days to two, creating a total transit time of six to seven days for traffic moving from any KCS or Tex-Mex point to Monterrey or Mexico City, Mexico. Since the sale, about 90 percent of traffic entering Mexico is on or ahead of schedule, KCS said.

To gain those efficiencies, KCS designed a pre-blocking plan for trains entering Mexico. KCS daily originates a train with all Mexican-bound traffic from Jackson, Miss., to Bossier City, La. There, all cars that haven't been approved for clearance into Mexico are removed from the train, which is pre-blocked to Mexican destinations.

The train carries three Mexico blocks when departing Bossier City; Mexico City (TFM 1), Monterrey (TFM 2), and a mixed block for other destinations (TFM 3). Once the train is blocked at Bossier City, it heads directly to Beaumont, Texas, where it makes one final pick-up of previously cleared and blocked cars. The train then departs Beaumont and bypasses all Tex Mex terminals, moving directly over the border if possible.

KCS' service design group daily monitors the plan, coordinating with Tex Mex and TFM officials to ensure that any performance and/or data issues are resolved.

"Tex Mex is delivering 94 percent on-time performance with southbound traffic and slow orders have been reduced to one," said Tex Mex General Manager Jim Riney.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News