Rail vs. Road Freight – Which is the best transport option for you?
Are you interested in transporting cargo and aren’t exactly sure whether rail or road transport is the best option for you? There are a few key factors you should take into consideration before you take a decision in this regard. Today rail and road shipping go head to head as we offer an unbiased look at the key characteristics of these two transport options. So read along, do a bit of introspection and decide for yourself which transport service is the best fit for you and your company:
Time of delivery
While freight can usually be delivered much faster by road than rail, it is also more prone to be influenced by external factors such as weather or traffic conditions, which can cause unexpected delays. Rail shipping is somewhat slower in terms of speed but is much more reliable and punctual than road transport, since it doesn’t encounter the same issues along the way.
Shipping cargo via road is preferable for short distances, as it can offer cost-effective, door-to-door services. When it comes to transporting goods on long distances (even cross-continental shipping), rail freight forwarding is the clear winner. The train’s capacity to transport heavy cargo is also an asset on long distance journeys.
Freight rates and shipping costs
When looking to transport goods via road, you can opt for less than truckload, partial truckload, full truckload or multi-truckload shipping. Thus, the cost of transportation is greatly impacted by the amount of things you wish to ship. Generally speaking, prices are usually low on short distances, unless specialized cargo is to be transported, which requires specific containers.
In rail freight forwarding, transportation costs are generally advantageous, because of the low fuel consumption. The price of shipping can be influenced by many factors, that include size, distance, pick-up and delivery location, operative costs and the type of goods that need to be transported. Shipping bulk cargo on long distances will be much more cost-effective via rail than via road.
Type and amount of transported merchandise
The type and the amount of cargo you wish to transport is a fantastic indicator of the most suitable shipping option for your company. You can move a wide range of items with the help of trucks, however, their capacity is limited to 40 tones at most (per truck).
Shipping via rail is ideal for those interested in moving bulk goods, natural resources, agricultural products or even hazardous merchandise. A single locomotive can transport up to 1600 net tons, with the help of 40-42 wagons (the equivalent of about 40 truckloads).
Security and reliability
The trucking industry is the type of transportation option that is most exposed to accidents and unpredictable occurrences. Despite being tracked on a regular basis, there’s no telling what can happen on the road that can affect the time of arrival of your cargo.
Rail shipping services are much less prone to accidents. And while their tracking systems do not entirely equal those of trucks, they still ensure effective and punctual transport services. What’s more, the digitalization and IT-tracking of rail freight forwarding is still being developed, which means that there will soon be new equipment to help with operations.
Sustainability and impact on climate
According to an official survey published earlier this year, 74.5% of global transport emissions originate from road transport, with freight making up 29.4%. On the other hand, rail accounts for merely 1%, including both passenger and freight shipping.
Another study published by AAR claims that railroads are 3-4 times more fuel efficient than trucks, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. And while road transportation is responsible for 140 gCO2/tkm, rail shipping emits merely 16 gCO2/tkm. In this instance, the numbers and statistical data speak for themselves.
Now that you’re convinced that rail is the best freight transport option for your company, the next thing you should do is reach out to MMV Rail Romania. Our team of specialists ensures a flexible, tailor-made approach to perfectly match your exclusive business needs. Provide us with your transport details and we will shortly reply with a customized solution that is in line with all your requirements.