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Railroad’s Loss Becomes Trucking’s Gain

Railroad corporation CSX is experiencing customer service problems that are frustrating its customers and driving many of them to switch to trucking.

Chief Executive Hunter Harrison has apologized to customers for service disruptions that he blamed on some CSX employees resisting changes he has implemented since taking over in March. Cowen & Co analysts said more than 80 percent of shippers they surveyed have experienced problems with CSX and nearly 40 percent have switched some freight to railroad rival Norfolk Southern. Additionally, 67 percent have transferred freight away from rail altogether and to a trucker.

Harrison, who has led successful turnarounds of two Canadian railroads, told customers he is facing resistance to aggressive cost-cutting measures he implemented and “while most people at the company have embraced the new plan, unfortunately, a few have pushed back.” He added the company was committed to finding affected customers and fixing service issues.

Union spokesman John Risch places the blame for the disruptions squarely on Harrison’s shoulders. “No one is more to blame for CSX’s service disruptions than the man who ordered the dramatic changes to operations and that’s Hunter Harrison,” Risch said by email.


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