Category: Cost per ton mile rail vs truck

As you may already know, DAT collects data on truck freight transactions, as part of the company's role as the largest provider of load boards and truckload rate data. Perhaps surprisingly, DAT also receives a lot of rail intermodal data, via our daily feeds from 3PLs, carriers and shippers.

Most of that data refers to spot market pricing on foot domestic containers.

The data from reveal some interesting trends. Overall rail carload traffic is down 5. By contrast, rail intermodal increased 1. The fourth quarter has been brutal, though, with carload traffic down 9. Even intermodal declined 1. Railroads realize they have a challenge, hanging onto market share. Most rail movements start to become competitive with trucks only at distances above miles.

Rail intermodal pricing has remained relatively steady on the spot market, but truckload transportation is more affordable. Macroeconomic trends have a direct effect on rail freight volume, specifically on traditional bulk cargo types such as metal and ores, fracking sand, petroleum products, and coal. The one bright spot in carload traffic, paradoxically, is for new automobiles and auto parts.

Average train speeds have increased markedly in the last few months, with fewer interruptions by slow-speed trains carrying ore, coal, and petroleum products. Faster trains benefit the automotive industry. As slack truck capacity and low diesel prices improve the competitiveness of truckload transportation, more of the core rail intermodal freight is headed back onto the highway.

The opening of the expanded Panama Canal in will enable the new class of mega-container ships to travel from Asia to destinations on the U. East Coast. Many analysts believe economic results will be soft in the first quarter of We see slowing in a lot of key indicators, and the country is still working through a period of excess inventory. On the upside, drought-stricken areas continue to receive rain, which is very welcome, especially in California.

When crops and industry improve in California, that boosts the whole nation, and the extra demand adds to pressure on spot market capacity. I look for truck trends to begin reversing in the second quarter, with local shortages of equipment, as the economy adjusts to lower energy costs.

At that point, the railroads may also begin to reverse current downward trends in both carload and intermodal traffic. Happy Holidays from DAT. DAT operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. View in App Store.And those trucks carry a lot of freight — 70 percent of all freight transported in the U. But trucks can wreak havoc on our environment. According to the EPA, their greenhouse gas emissions are five times as much as other modes of freight transport.

And freight trucks cause more and more damage to our roadways every year. For their part, the American Trucking Association has started a campaign called Trucks Deliver a Cleaner Tomorrow highlighting the changes and proposed changes to trucking industry standards to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Association of American Railroads estimates that on average, a freight train can move 1 ton of freight about miles on just one gallon of fuel. In a deal that sparked much discussion and debateBuffett bought out the remaining 77 percent of shares that his company did not own of BNSF Railway Co.

Because, he said, trucks have reached their peak of efficiency, and trains have not. With oil prices climbing and not showing signs of falling anytime soon, that number is attractive to the shipper and, of course, the environment. A government that is as in debt as ours has not been able to invest enough to revitalize and resolve all of the current issues with the infrastructure the trucking industry relies upon. For more about the supply chain and how it affects us, watch this video.

Got a question? Submit a question to Mother Nature and one of our many experts will track down the answer. Plus: Visit our advice archives to see if your question has already been tackled.By The Maritime Executive.

OTR vs Intermodal: Which Shipping Strategy is Right for You?

By Harry Valentine Several years ago, two independent studies compared maritime to railway transportation costs involving the movement of containers.

It seems possible to expand on those studies to estimate transportation costs of containers arriving from overseas points of origin, at certain North American destinations. The railway distance is approximately 2, miles while the maritime distance via the Panama Canal is 4, nautical miles to New Orleans and another nautical miles along the Lower Mississippi River.

Container ships sail directly from European ports such as Rotterdam to several North American ports, including via the Panama Canal to west coast ports. At present, Ports of New Orleans and Halifax offer container transfers from large ships to smaller ships that sail into inland waterways and smaller ocean coastal ports. Plans are underway in Eastern Nova Scotia to establish two super terminals with a third such terminal being planned for New Orleans, to transfer containers from the largest container ships on the ocean.

The future opening of parallel navigation channels at the Suez Canal could invite discussions focused on larger ships passing through the canal, perhaps assisted by bow wave deflection technology. There is also the future possibility of a navigable passage for deep-draft ships becoming available in the Canadian Arctic, between the Beaufort Sea and Baffin Bay that would reduce the sailing distance to Eastern Canada.

Such ships arriving at LIGTT would interline with barges that sail along the American inland waterway system as well as with ships that connect to ports located around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Super-size ships that arrive at Eastern Nova Scotia from Asia would connect to coastal ships that sail to several east coast American ports and seasonally to ports located along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Prior to the development of the Suez and Panama Canals, railway lines had for several years carried transshipment freight between the same route endpoints.

At the time, maritime transportation incurred lower transportation costs to move large amounts of freight and resulted in the development of both navigation canals.

After a century of ongoing technological improvement and development in both transportation modes, maritime still offers lower transportation costs to move massive volume or extreme weight and resulted in the expansion of the Panama Canal to move containers between East Asia and Eastern North America. The limitations of the Panama Canal and expansion and future twinning of the Suez Canal along with interest in moving massive volumes of freight between Asia and Eastern North America, prompted development of terminals in Eastern Canada and Gulf Coast USA for the largest container ships afloat.

Coupled barge assemblies of up to 2, feet meters in length by feet 43 meters beam carry massive volumes of freight along the Lower Mississippi River at lower cost than railway transportation. Development of super-ports in Eastern Canada could prompt development of higher capacity interlining vessels to sail into the St Lawrence River.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive. By The Maritime Executive A new report, prepared by Inforum at the University of Maryland for the U. Committee on the Marine Transportation System CMTSdemonstrates that increasing investment in marine transportation system infrastructure above a business-as-usual scenario will improve U. An Economic Analysis of Spending on Marine Transportation System MTS Infrastructure April indicates that increased investment in infrastructure such as ports and inland waterways would deliver higher levels of GDP, more jobs, increased incomes, improved trade performance and higher productivity New licensed offshore acreage is likely to fall by about 60 percent and onshore acreage by 30 percent compared with levels.

This year was slated to be another remarkable year for exploration with about 45 countries launching at least 52 lease rounds, Naval Hospital in Guam.The great freight debate continues on, pitting trucks against trains in the search for the most efficient shipping strategy. This is where trucking becomes necessary, as trucks are much more flexible in where they go and when, and require no expensive infrastructure to get there.

Timely delivery is another huge advantage to trucking, and not something the rail system can realistically hope to compete with. Trucks can adapt to the scheduling needs of their clients, and requires less extensive planning and labor to operate. In addition, perishable foods are most often transported by truck, as the need to put items in storage makes rail problematic. According to the Association of American Railroads, farm products accounted for only 7.

So, while both trucking and rail certainly have their place in the freight industry, the rail transport infrastructure still requires significant upgrades before it can begin to keep up or cover as much ground.

All rights reserved. Trucking vs Rail. Toll-free 1. Office Phone Fax Our last two posts on improving trucking efficiency see here and here received quite a bit of push-back from the TreeHugger audience. While some comments were tempered, others were more blunt, "There is nothing green about trucks," you said.

And, "Get freight back on the rails where it belongs. At RMI we agree that any serious freight strategy needs to have a big picture, integrative perspective that includes smart land-use and development as well as efficient rail, truck, and shipping transport.

Compared to trucking, rail transit does sport higher efficiency numbers - today's average train has an efficiency of ton-miles per gallon whereas trucks currently hover around ton-miles per gallon.

Still, there are numerous reasons why addressing truck efficiency remains important, if not critical. For example, peer-reviewed research and companies like Wal-Mart have proved that trucks can easily achieve ton-miles per gallon. Maximizing the efficiency of all systems and using each mode for the strengths it possesses is the real key to efficient freight transport. So while we should expand rail infrastructure and increase its utilization, the near-term opportunity to drastically increase truck efficiency cannot be ignored.

Some other freight efficiency considerations: Downstream Efficiency As usual, the biggest lever for efficiency occurs downstream at the user end. Inan average of 68 tons of goods moved 15, miles in the United States for each U. If we demand less goods, we'd also reduce the energy associated in manufacturing and transporting them across the country.

cost per ton mile rail vs truck

Rail Limitations Both rail and trucking require significant infrastructure upgrades before they can efficiently move America's goods. While personal rail mobility has recently been marked for billions of dollars, the rail transport infrastructure continues to decline. The main downside to rail is the lack of timely transport, a near non-starter for companies that demand just-in-time logistics. Further, as Don Baldwin from Michelin Tires noted at RMI's recent Trucking Summit"the need to put things in storage makes rail particularly difficult for perishables.

This, from the Association of American Railroads. Perhaps most importantly, trucks don't require their own infrastructure, and are therefore capable of reaching any destination without advance notice. Specifically, according to RMI analyst Mike Simpson, "Wind tunnel testing of a Prevost H articulated bus demonstrates a drag coefficient 50 percent smaller than that of a typical class 8 truck while maintaining similar cargo volume and exemplifying gap seals required for such streamlining.

As aerodynamic drag composes roughly two-thirds of the fuel consumption for a tractor-trailer at highway speeds, a 50 percent reduction in drag represents a 33 percent reduction in fuel consumption. If you add in low rolling resistance tires which save an additional 10 percent of fueland maximize the cargo volume while using lightweight materials for the structure, the total power required by the engine to maintain performance drops by almost 50 percent.

Of course long combination vehicles LCVs do have their limitations, but RMI's paper documents possible mitigation strategies. For example, the accessory and auxiliary loads in a class 8 truck can account for 10 percent of its total power consumption.

Simple measures like electrified compressors and advanced HVAC design can greatly reduce this demand. Also, advanced powertrains, like hybrid-electric and hybrid-hydraulic systems, can further reduce fuel consumption during acceleration while increasing the lifetime of brakes.

cost per ton mile rail vs truck

Intermodal Solutions Ultimately, it may prove futile to pit one mode of transport against the other, especially when integrative solutions--like the classic J.

Hunt case --can reap the benefits from both.

cost per ton mile rail vs truck

In J.Ive googled this quite a few times but I just cant find any rough idea how much it costs to ship car loads via rail of any type.

I would guess that loads vary in price for all kinds of different reasons But are we talking 's of dollars to ship something or 's of dollars?

I wouldn't even have an idea what to guess Can anybody help me out? Try looking for a tariff rate instead of the word cost or price, you will find lots of neat info Be cautious looking at tariff rates -- they're the "walk-up" rate like you would pay if you ran up to the airline counter and said "Get me on the next flight, price no object!

The average rate per ton-mile one ton of freight moved one mile is just above 3 cents at the present time on U. Class 1 railroads. For the full yearthe average rate was 3.

Bulk commodities are well below that average, at about 2 cents per ton-mile, and high-value, high-service intermodal freight well above that average, at about 5 cents per ton-mile or even more in some cases. The average length of haul was miles, and the average tons per carload was I'm glad you posted that information. I had always noticed a lack of that type of data here, and I assumed it was done so the various RR's could protect their competitive advantage.

Comparing Maritime Versus Railway Transportation Costs

An informal agreement, if you will, between Kalmbach and the companies that if we don't talk about rates, they won't object to some of our other topics. Derailments and their causes, for example. Thank you RWM. Although Shell Deer Park and Lubrizol are literally directly across our tracks from each other, Shell get a big discount because they have a in house switcher crew with their own locomotive and ship 3 to 4 times the volume of cars.

What you should look at is the type of work, switching, spotting, inter and intra-plant movement, captured service and bulk long haul service, lots of other charges most people never think about. Railway Man live: Ive googled this quite a few times but I just cant find any rough idea how much it costs to ship car loads via rail of any type.

BNSF provides access to theirs on their website. I suspect that others do too, but I have had no reason to look for them. That gives a great idea of costs involved. A few years ago there seemed to be a movement toward tariff rates, perhaps from the tone of the conversation here that movement is halted and is now contract or negotiated rates.

Ed's comments on the accessorial charges switching, intra plant, etc is something that is usually outlined in most terminal carrier's tariffs.Road and rail transport are the two modes used for the movement of goods overland and across continents.

cost per ton mile rail vs truck

Road transport is the most commonly used mode of transport for the movement of goods. Many day to day items such as groceries, flowers, fruits, and dry goods are moved all across countries and continents using road freight. Rail transport is a commonly used mode of transport especially in countries and continents with long transit times such as across China, Russia, USA and parts of Europe.

Freight trains are capable of carrying various types of cargo such as freight containers, vehicles, livestock, commodities such as grains, coal, minerals and metals etc. Compare quotes and book instanly at Freightera. Freightera offers B2B online freight shipping marketplace in North America with instant quotes from carriers of all sizes and one-click bookings.

It serves manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and other businesses regularly shipping freight. Rail transport has become a huge necessity in countries like USA, Russia and China, where the length and breadth of the countries necessitates usage of freight trains for goods transportation.

This can be seen from a report by Grand View Research, which states that the U. Still, there are places that the railways cannot reach, which can be done by road transport! Click here to cancel reply. Leave this field empty. Business Shipper? Use promo code BLOG25 at the checkout. Thank you for reading our blog! Copyright Freightera Logistics Inc, All rights reserved.

Trucking vs Rail

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