Picture shipping lumber out of Manitoba to various customers. Do you know how long your trips take on average? How long your cars dwell at the origins and destinations? Or how your customer lanes are performing?

Cycle time reports are a common choice for shippers who want to assess days in transit, dwell time at a destination and ultimately, customer location performance.

What counts as a cycle? What counts as a trip?

Let’s back up—before you can read a cycle time report, you need to understand the shipment cycle. A cycle is comprised of two trips, the loaded trip and the empty trip. For a carload of lumber moving from Manitoba to a customer in South Carolina, the loaded trip would be from Manitoba to South Carolina. The empty trip would be from South Carolina back to Manitoba. The two trips together constitute a “cycle.” 

A cycle starts with the release event for a loaded car. The loaded release event is generated by the serving railroad upon the receipt of the bill of lading.

The loaded trip: (from Manitoba to South Carolina) includes dwell days at the origin between the release and the pull event (when the railroad pulls the car from your facility), days in transit and dwell days at the destination.

The empty trip: the empty release event (when the customer informs the railroad it has unloaded the car) begins the empty trip. It will include the empty release event at South Carolina to when the railroad pulls the car, empty days in transit, empty placement at the facility and empty dwell days back at the origin. The cycle ends with the next loaded release event and then car begins a new cycle.

Customer dwell in this case would be from the time the loaded car was placed at the customer in South Carolina to when the car is released to travel back to Manitoba. Facility dwell is the time the returned empty car sat at your facility before being loaded.

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When to Use a Cycle Time Report

A cycle time report provides measures that indicate the following:

  • If dwell time is more or less than average for that facility
  • If transit time is more or less than average for that trip
  • If one location has more dwell time than another
  • And more

Cycle time reports can assess your locations against each other or against the average, enabling shippers to identify problem locations or abnormal cycles. If you aren’t sure if your lane productivity is where it should be, it’s a good time to run a cycle time report.

TransmetriQ’s  Reports and Analytics tool provides shippers insight into their cycle and dwell analytics, helping to identify problems and drive performance improvements. Learn more about TransmetriQ Reports and Analytics here.