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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

KCS makes advances on e-commerce curve

Class Is haven’t been trumpeting their e-commerce accomplishments of late. But that doesn’t mean the large roads aren’t committing time and resources to improve their Web sites. For one, Kansas City Southern has been active this year in the e-commerce department to ensure its site is easier to use and features more accurate data.

In May, KCS added a customer registration process that enables users to customize user names and passwords. Two months later, the Class I added a filter to a "customer request" application — used to select a car type or initial, or determine if a car is empty or loaded — so users can customize the page and spend less time online.

This month, KCS plans to launch a redesigned bill of lading application that enables users to create and submit bill patterns or profiles. The railroad soon will provide an online manual for the new application.

In addition, KCS’ and TFM S.A. de C.V.’s information technology and corporate communications teams are collaborating to determine ways the railroads can combine the functionality of their sites ( and yet maintain their own identity.

Next year, KCS plans to increase online security for its "track and trace" applications so all customers can access estimated times of arrival, trip plans and shipment histories. Currently, only representatives from KCS- or TFM-served industries can access track and trace.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/6/2005