10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT RAIL FREIGHT

When we think of logistics, trucks are often the first thing people picture. While trucks excel in time-sensitive delivery over short distances, rail is the unsung hero of the U.S. freight system.

Here are some interesting facts about rail freight in the United States, provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Association of American Railroads, and the Transportation Research Forum.

  1. The average American requires roughly 40 tons of freight each year to support their lifestyle.
  2. Rail freight accounts for 16% of U.S. freight shipments by weight.
  3. While trucks carry most goods shipped less than 750 miles, rail is the leading form of transportation for shipments traveling 750 to 2,000 miles.
  4. Rail carries the most freight by ton-miles (a unit of measurement where one ton of freight moves one mile). Rail accounts for 39.5% of U.S. freight by ton-miles, while trucks accounts for only 29% of ton-miles.
  5. Rail freight tonnage is expected to grow 22% between 2010 and 2035.
  6. Rail freight plays a more import role in the U.S. than in the Europe Union. In 2000, U.S. railroads moved an estimated 2,390 billion ton kilometers of freight, while E.U. railroads moved just an estimated 304 billion ton kilometers.
  7. U.S. rail freight rates are among the most competitive in the world. They are less than half the rates paid in Germany or Japan, and 30% lower than those in China.
  8. Rail freight is environmentally friendly. Moving freight by rail instead of by truck requires 75% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
  9. A single rail car can carry enough grain to make 258,000 loaves of bread.
  10. The longest freight train in American history was longer than 60 football fields.
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