January 15, 2016
In Vicksburg, Miss., KCSR interchanges traffic with the Vicksburg Southern Railroad (VSOR), a 21-mile line of track formerly known as KCSR’s Redwood Branch that was leased to Watco Companies’ VSOR in 2006. On this line, VSOR switches rail cars for an oil refinery. This customer’s products are transported to locations throughout North America.
Starting January 4, 2016, Mississippi River flooding took VSOR out of service, which has meant that the customer’s products could not get to KCSR via VSOR. In search of alternative solutions, KCSR and the customer identified two transload facilities within a short truck-haul distance of Vicksburg.
1. The first transload facility was on the west side of the Mississippi River near Tallulah, La. and is served by the Delta Southern Railroad (DSR). DSR interchanges with KCSR at Tallulah and serves the Madison Parish port at Talla Bena, La. where transfers were made on weekends. The customer performed the transfer of their products from truck to rail at this location.
2. The second transload facility was on the east side of the Mississippi River in Jackson, Miss. The customer, KCSR and the transload facility operator Arrow Material Services devised a plan for the majority of the customer’s shipments to be handled at this location during the VSOR outage. This was the main site for the customer’s transfers during the week. The customer sent their trucks to this site and supervised the transfer, and KCSR provided daily service to ensure the maximum number of cars can be moved. KCSR also worked to reposition rail cars and kept them in cycle to minimize dwell time in yards during this time.
On January 11, the Army Corps of Engineers, City of Vicksburg and Warren County, in discussing the flood crest level, determined that the flood wall in Vicksburg, which was preventing VSOR service to the customer, could be taken down. The initial crest was predicted to be 55 feet. The prediction was then reduced to 50.5 feet sometime this weekend. On Monday, when the wall was taken down, KCSR Maintenance of Way crews were on hand to put the track panel back in place, and the Transportation team ran a train of empty cars to the customer for loading. While the transload solution was very successful, it will soon be business as usual for the customer.
The customer benefited from this solution in that despite the VSOR outage due to the flooding, they could continue to operate their Vicksburg refinery and move product to their customers. KCSR benefited from this solution with the opportunity to demonstrate the company’s commitment to partnering with customers to move their products reliably and to minimize lost revenues during the flooding.
Special thanks to the KCSR Sales and Marketing, Customer Solutions and Transportation teams for developing a plan to accelerate deliveries to and from the transload facilities. Thanks to Arrow Materials Services for coordinating with the customer to make the plan work, and to the customer for trusting KCSR to serve their needs during the flood and going forward.