The Private Railcar Food and Beverage Association, Inc., recently announced its debut. This association, also known by its members as PRFBA, is pronounced “PERF-BAH,” and is comprised of 13 global food and beverage companies and manufacturers headquartered in North America.
In September of 2015, a group of 10 leading food and beverage companies got together for three days to discuss improvements to managing and utilizing their private railcar fleets. From this summit, the PRFBA organization was born. In January of 2016, the association became incorporated and 12 members joined officially as the “charter members”. Since that time, one more company has joined the association with several others in the works.
Membership is per company and each company can appoint one or more “designated representatives.” In most cases, each member company has a primary DR and a back-up DR on the membership roster.
The PRFBA membership voted in a Board of Directors in February, which consists of three member BOD’s and one ex-officio, BOD (non-member).
PRFBA members meet regularly either in person or on the phone to discuss opportunities and solutions to their “similar” challenges with railcar service. The membership also collaborates with other trade associations with regard to industry changes and legislation, such as FSMA, that directly impact the food and beverage arena.
The Association meets with the four Class 1 North American railroads at least twice per year as a group and the BOD’s meet with the railroads as well throughout the year.
The Association has provided the members with a forum to work together to harness the railroad service and ultimately provide a better foundation for private railcar food and beverage shipper’s in North America.
Some thoughts from the PRFBA members:
“The Association has provided McCain Foods an opportunity to meet other private railcar food and beverage companies and has allowed me to collaborate and share ideas with regard to railcar service improvements," as stated by Charles Penrow, McCain Foods.
“The Private Rail Food and Beverage Association has provided Land O Lakes, and myself, a deeper understanding of the challenges and benefits faced by the rail shipping community and enabled our collaboration with other shippers and rail providers to improve our processes and planning. We expect our involvement in the association to provide us a platform where we can further develop our rail network processes and utilization, as well as assist us in further developing our transportation team members,” as stated by Jim Carver, Land O’ Lakes.
“The ability to optimize network efficiencies (empty miles, load factors, capacity, lead times, service expectations), particularly within a rail network, are difficult to achieve as a single organization. PRFBA offers us the capability to work in partnership with other supply chains and rail providers to bring our scale together and present opportunities that would not be there otherwise,” as stated by Rocco Palmieri, The Kraft Heinz Company.