From big ideas to the basics, your source for improving transportation performance. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of rail transport, one of the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible modes of transport. Is shipping your cargo by rail a good option? Evaluate rail transport based on shipment visibility, costs, shipping speed, capacity and more. Don't miss the video and the printable infographic.
Welcome to the second part of our transportation mode comparison series, where we take an in-depth look at the benefits of rail transport and also the challenges of rail transport. From household items and food products to cars and building materials, you name it. It was probably shipped by rail at some point. Trains play an important role in connecting markets from coast to coast and transporting the products that keep the United States moving.
Rail is one of the most efficient and cost-effective modes of transport, especially when it comes to shipping large volumes over long distances. As an expert in transportation, I'm often asked if rail transport is a good option for shipping cargo. The answer is yes! Rail transport is considered to be one of the most cost-effective modes of transport, especially for large volumes traveling long distances. Because of its ability to move large quantities of cargo at once, rail transport has a lower cost per tonne-mile (the cost of moving a ton of cargo one mile) than transportation by truck. In fact, a train requires less energy to move from point A to point B and can carry the equivalent load of 300 trucks. When you think about basic physics, the amount of energy needed to move a truck or train is related to the amount of rolling and air friction.
A rotating steel wheel in contact with a steel rail produces significantly less rolling friction than a rolling rubber truck tire in contact with asphalt or pavement. There is also less air friction in trains, because the wagons are connected and all the cars travel together on the draft of a single locomotive. Every truck driving on the road must independently combat air friction, which, in turn, consumes more energy and consumes more fuel. Speed is another factor to consider when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. While you might think that trucks travel much faster than trains, transit times for rail and road transport may be comparable.
In addition, trains are less susceptible to traffic congestion and delays in road construction, and have the capacity to transport shipments over long distances quickly and efficiently. Capacity is another important factor when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. Unlike trucks and airplanes, rail transport offers enormous load capacities that can be adjusted as your business grows or shipping needs change. The railroad can also support shipments of many shapes and sizes, from grain to wind turbine blades. Reach is another important factor when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. You might be surprised to learn that railroad tracks span nearly 140,000 miles across the United States.
Even if you don't have railroads at your door, most railroads can help you coordinate a door-to-door shipping solution using intermodal transport or transshipment. Shipment visibility is another important factor when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. Most train locomotives are generally tracked using GPS, and most railroads offer shipment management solutions that help you track your shipments in real time. All wagons have automatic equipment identification tags, and tag readers are located across the United States to provide a high level of visibility of shipments. Reliability is another important factor when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. Weather delays can affect rail shipments.
Today's railroads focus on reliable transit times and schedules, and rail shipments can be expected to arrive within a predetermined time frame. Environmental impact is another important factor when choosing a mode of transport for your cargo. Rail transport is by far one of the most environmentally responsible modes of transport. On average, railroads move one ton of freight nearly 500 miles per gallon of fuel, and trains save four times more fuel than trucks. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that freight railroads represent only 0.5% of total U.
S greenhouse gas emissions and only 1.9% of transport-related sources. In the automotive industry, the metals, plastics and parts needed to manufacture finished vehicles flow through a durable and precisely tuned supply chain. Raw material suppliers, parts manufacturers and finished product carriers have been links in the chain for a long time and have provided good service to the market. The lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles are made up of different raw materials than traditional lead-acid batteries for cars. Is this single supply chain ready for future demand? Between production, consumption, imports and exports, the shipping industry moves a lot of wood across North America.
But how? For imports and exports, wood is shipped abroad in intermodal containers transported by maritime carriers. Although wood can also be shipped by barges, most inland shipments travel by truck or train. Understanding how wood is transported by trucks and trains and comparing the two options can strengthen the supply chains of timber carriers and maximize the profitability of their participation in this enormous industry. When you grow a green beer in St Patrick's Day, should you toast for the railroad? The answer is yes! As consumers we tend to have a lot of “customer experiences” in a day - buying breakfast, attending a doctor's appointment or picking up food offer unique experiences.
Your interactions with people in self-service or at check-in or at exit; how pleasant environment is; how fast they serve you; if product you want is available - all these are part of these experiences. The digital customer experience (DCX) is a component of customer experience - same concept except that instead of in-person experiences it's specific to digital interactions - like ordering coffee in advance on an app; attending telehealth conference with doctor; buying food online etc. The effectiveness each digital customer experience depends on how well it meets customer expectations - which means understanding customer needs before designing any digital experience. As an expert in transportation I'm often asked about how much it costs to ship something on a train? The answer depends on several factors such as shipment size, distance traveled, type of cargo being shipped etc., but overall it's usually cheaper than other modes such as trucking or air freight due to its efficiency in moving large volumes over long distances with less energy consumption per mile traveled. Rail transport also offers advantages such as shipment visibility through GPS tracking systems; capacity flexibility; reach across 140k miles; reliability; environmental responsibility; digital customer experience etc., making it an attractive option for many businesses looking for cost effective solutions for their shipping needs.