With the trucking industry in the U.S. clocking close to 800 billion dollars annually and accounting for around 75% of all product shipments, it is easy to forget about rail transport that formed the backbone of the American economy long before trucks became popular. With the railway network in the country being extensive, there are several good reasons for businesses not to ignore the advantages of rail transport.
Organized and Reliable
The railroad network in America is over 140,000 miles long built painstakingly over the years. Today, it carries vast amounts of goods because of its large network and because it is very well organized with fixed routes and schedules. Even without using modern tracking technology, you can easily find out where your goods are at any given point in time. Moreover, usually, trains operate like clockwork with none of the traffic disruption commonly faced in road transport and ocean freight. It allows you to know accurately when your cargo has left for its destination and when it will reach. Rail transport is also more robust and not easily subject to weather-related disruptions common to both road transport and ocean shipping. Moreover, since multiple users do not share railroad tracks, you do not face any traffic issues of the kind that plague the trucking industry.
Economical Method of Goods Transport
One of the most compelling reasons for using rail transport over any other method is its low cost. Most of the cost of rail transport is towards its fixed overheads with fuel and labor contributing very little. It allows the rail authorities to offer competitive rail freight quotes to encourage more shippers to use their network. The cost of running a train from one point to another is more or less fixed, irrespective of whether it is loaded or empty. The use of manpower is the least across any mode of good transport you can think of; all you need is a driver and a guard to transport large amounts of cargo. According to industry experts, switching to rail transport from road can potentially save your business up to 40% in freight costs.
Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
Rail transport is unarguably the most environmentally responsible method of transporting freight over land. On a per ton-mile basis, compared to trucks, railways are three to four times more fuel-efficient. According to studies conducted by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), a train uses just one gallon of diesel to carry one ton of goods for as many as 480 miles. Additionally, a train can averagely carry freight equivalent to 300 trucks. It not only reduces your carbon footprint but also helps relieve traffic congestion on the roads and wear and tear of road surfaces as well as the trucks.
In addition to the benefits discussed above, you also enjoy more peace of mind when transporting by rail, as it has among the best safety records of all modes of transport. Not only are train accidents relatively rare, but you can protect the goods against exposure to the elements.