ST. LOUIS (03/01/2000) - Railinc Corp., a Cary, N.C.-based railroad industry technology vendor, yesterday launched Steelroads.com, a Web site that's designed to make it easier for customers to ship freight with more than 300 freight rail carriers.
The launch was announced here at the International E-rail Freight conference presented by the London-based International Quality and Productivity Center.
The brainchild of the railroad industry - it was first conceived in December - Steelroads uses electronic-business technologies to allow customers to determine the best way to ship their freight, according to Allen West, a Railinc vice president.
Using Steelroads, customers can locate and determine the most efficient route for their shipments, specify the equipment their shipment requires and determine whether that equipment is available along the entire route.
Customers are also able to track and trace their shipments from origin to destination using NetREDI, an Internet e-commerce tool for customers to determine the location and status information of their shipments.
Using Steelroads, customers can also communicate directly with the appropriate person at every participating rail carrier to determine which carrier best meets their needs. In addition, customers can submit their shipping requirements to as many rail carriers as they choose.
The information on the Web site is available in English, Spanish and French.
Steelroads.com provides access to railroads via the Internet, telephone and e-mail.
Paul Neville, manager of Steelroads, said the information and services on the site will be upgraded regularly. "We're asking for customer feedback to see what the marketplace wants," he said. "This is not just what we want."
In the future, Steelroads will enable customers to generate and transmit equipment requests for their shipments to all participating railroads and to determine the status of those requests. Steelroads will also allow customers to submit a bill of lading with shipping instructions to the rail carrier of their choice.