As supply chains become leaner, and companies try to manage their work forces more effectively, comprehensive and accurate visibility into the arrival of inbound empty railcars has become critically important for rail shippers. Visibility of inbound empty railcars allows shippers to accurately plan their production output, manage on-hand inventory, accurately schedule their workforce to manage loadings, and effectively manage on-hand railcar and product inventories. TransmetriQ - a Railinc brand, has been able to help shippers large and small overcome the challenge of empty railcar visibility in several different ways.

Shippers can easily trace owned or leased cars as they may be traced continuously by a visibility provider and are often home routed or reverse routed back to the lading origins. But shippers often struggle with empty railcar visibility in certain areas due to waybill, security or other issues. Because TransmetriQ is powered by Railinc, the industry repository for rail data, we are able fill the gaps when these blind spots occur.

freight railcars at plant

Railroad Pool Railcar Tracking 

When a shipper does not own or lease railcars, they are often using cars from pools designated to them by the railroads. Those pools are set up in Railinc’s UMLER® system, where they may be assigned or removed from a shipper’s fleet as required. TransmetriQ’s Rail Management System TMS can be configured to add or remove cars from tracing as they are managed in the UMLER® pool. This allows TransmetriQ to manage the visibility of those cars automatically on behalf of the shipper.


Waybill-Based Railcar Tracking  

Waybill accuracy can sometimes fall short. When a company name on the waybill doesn’t match the name in the Customer Information File (CIF), most visibility platforms are unable to identify, and therefore trace, associated cars. Railinc, TransmetriQ’s parent brand, is the industry’s repository of rail waybills and CIF. Leveraging these systems, TransmetriQ can add the spelling variations seen on empty waybills to CIF, allowing our visibility platform to connect the dots between an intended name and a creative waybill spelling. This ensures that shippers can identify and trace future empties listed under waybill parties despite any inaccurate spellings.

Gaining visibility into inbound empty railcars requires a keen understanding of railroad operations and the underlying systems that support those operations. The combination of our 20+ years of expertise in dealing with millions of daily reported railroad events, knowledge of railroad operating practices, and access to industry data repositories has allowed the TransmetriQ team to effectively work to solve the empty car visibility challenges of shippers across North America.


If you’re struggling with empty railcar visibility, our rail experts can help. Learn more about TransmetriQ’s near real-time visibility offerings here.