No matter what side or direction of the tracks the freight train goes, the train still rolls the same way. Train transport, whether steam locomotives of old or the modern high-speed train, has many benefits. Railway transport is also a popular model of transportation. For certain types of cargo, the advantages of the freight rail network are too great to ignore. If you’re moving lots of cargo for long distances and time isn’t an issue, rail transportation can be an efficient solution. In this article, we’ll look at a couple of reasons for choosing the rail network over other modes of transport.
1. Shipping by freight rail network is eco-friendly
Many people are now conscious of the environment. The railway system is more eco-friendly than air freight or sea. One major environmental advantage of freight rail systems is they have lower exhaust emissions. When you compare the amount of carbon dioxide emissions among the different transport modes, it’s apparent that freight railway systems are the winner.
Take, for example, the distance between Europe and China. Airfreight consumes 139 tons of carbon dioxide. Sea and air consume roughly 77 tons between them. On the other hand, freight trains consume just five tons. Compared to other transport models, trains use a tiny fraction of fuel along the railway lines, making it the most eco-friendly option.
Shipping goods via trains more environmentally both sea and air freight. Trains burn less fuel per mile than trucks. The Association of American Railroads estimates that a diesel locomotive uses a single gallon of fuel to move one ton of freight for 479 miles. A high-speed rail that uses electricity is even better.
2. Rail freight is fast and reliable
Unlike ocean freight, rail transportation is both fast and reliable. To put things into perspective, let’s consider the distance between Western Europe and China. One of the hurdles that manufacturers in China face is the long lead times to the EU market when using sea freight.
Ocean-going vessels from China to Europe take roughly six weeks to get to their destinations. Railway companies offer faster deliveries, which reduces the lead time. Shorter lead times are beneficial for companies that deal in fast-moving consumer goods with high demands. As a result, business owners can forecast freight operations and earn more operating revenues.
A passenger rail service that runs on high-speed systems is more punctual than vehicles passing on the road as they use fixed routes. Typical road vehicles do experience traffic congestion and weather issues. Bus services can grind to a halt. Not so with passenger trains or freight. There’s little that can obstruct the path of a typical modern wagon or impede transportation along an electric railway. Unless the steel rails or wooden rails are damaged, little can block a rail path. Passenger services will run smoothly, and railway operations won’t grind to a halt. Even if there’s an issue, the train crew can switch rails or control railway traffic safely.
3. Rail freight is safe and efficient with GPS tracking
Railroad safety has improved tremendously from the time of the steam locomotive. Rail transportation is now regarded as one of the safest transport modes. Investments in railway infrastructure, new railway tracks, routings, terminals, and border crossings have upped the performance of railway vehicles and reduced many rail accidents. Haulers also enjoy better fuel efficiency.
Cargo and passenger trains use GPS tracking, and the merchandise in transport is well-protected against theft and losses. Carriers can pinpoint the location of shipments along with the railway network and make follow-ups. They also have accurate and detailed information on the real container position and can detect a mishap in the rail tracks where a passenger train passes.
4. Rail network freight is cost-efficient and reduces the cost of capital
Shipping by rail is also significantly cheaper than land transport. The lower interest costs for the tied-up capital cover the high transportation costs, making the freight rail network a cost-efficient shipping option and significantly reducing operating costs.
A company ships 500 containers per year, with an average cargo value of 300,000 USD per container and a financial cost of 5% per annum. The daily interest is 30 USD per container. Shipping merchandiser from China to Europe via the rail network takes roughly 20 days, compared to the sea, which takes over 40 days. By using rail freight, the company can save several thousands of dollars per year for all the 500 containers. In addition, the owners can use the money they save to cover other costs and streamline the supply chain, which positively impacts cost parameters and eliminates capital binding.
Shippers who opt for long-haul freight instead of roads can save anywhere from 10-40%. Rail has lower fuel costs than other transport methods, especially when moving huge loads of cargo. Recent technological developments in rail transport have reduced split and rotten ties that lead to infrastructure failures.
5.Trains can haul huge loads
When it comes to cargo volume, rail services beat wheeled vehicles hands down. Diesel locomotives can handle high freight volumes. A double-stacked rain can carry the same cargo load as 280 trucks. Moving such loads via intermodal transportation is beneficial for shippers with bulk cargo. A good example is the Canadian Pacific Railway that provides business owners the means to ship huge quantities of merchandise freight, intermodal traffic, and bulk goods across North America. Shippers can transport commodities such as wheat, coal, fertilizer, vehicle and parts, retail product, lumber, and industrial equipment in bulk. Moving such cargo by road transport certainly costs more.
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Rail Quip is North America’s leading supplier of rail transport equipment. Our scope includes machinery, maintenance equipment for railway stock, testing, operator training, and after-sale service. We have a range of superior equipment designed for any rail gauge and can ensure rail operations, including regional control rooms, run smoothly. We service many clients, including Houston Metro, which the Federal Transport Administration manages on behalf of the united states government. Call 1-800-325-0296 or send us a message online.