How to reduce your carbon footprint with intermodal transportation
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It seems like everywhere you go, there’s a semi-truck that’s also sharing the road. Trucking is an easy and effective way to deliver freight from one destination to another, involved in 70% of all freight transportation. However, fuel costs and traffic congestion can make over-the-road trucking expensive and a major source of pollution.
Incorporating intermodal drayage as another mode of freight transportation can serve to benefit our roads and environment. With an average freight train hitting between 5,500 to 6,800 feet in length depending on the railroad, anywhere from 103 to 128 53’ intermodal containers can fit on one ride. That ends up being hundreds of shipments off the road for a considerable number of miles.
Besides decreasing traffic on the roads, intermodal transportation is also decreasing the carbon footprint of freight. A carbon footprint refers to an entity’s greenhouse gas emissions, primarily concerning carbon dioxide. They are a major factor in air pollution, and as companies all over are pledging to reduce their carbon footprint, or even go “carbon neutral,” it’s worth noting this for your business initiatives and what can be done to lessen it.
Not only can a train carry the same amount of freight in one trip as multiple trucks, but their fuel efficiency is superior as well. One ton of freight can move 480 miles by train on just one gallon of fuel. Using the ton-miles per gallon formula [(tons x miles) / gallon], a regular intermodal load in a 53’ container would require 42 gallons of fuel to go 1000 miles by train. On the other hand, for a truck to go 1000 miles with the same cargo, it would need 141 gallons of fuel.
With the average over-the-road truck driver running 100,000 miles a year, imagine how much less the carbon emissions of your shipments could be when including intermodal transportation. While semi-trucks will still play a part in this method, it’s still cutting down on the total mileage traveled by truck.
Fuel efficiency comes in handy especially during times where diesel prices are on the rise. On top of the train being more fuel efficient, having trucks run a smaller portion of the trip decreases fuel expenses. When comparing intermodal trucking to over-the-road, the costs to move freight go up much higher on the OTR side when diesel prices rise.
And better yet, you don’t have to look for capacity when it’s time to bring the shipment on and off the rail. When you’re ready to transfer over to intermodal freight transportation, DrayNow has thousands of carriers consisting of owner operators and small fleets who are hauling containers under their own authority. We have a free load board app that connects these carriers with power only loads, which makes moving intermodal loads more easy and efficient than ever.
Trucks are always going to be a part of freight transportation, but incorporating rail is a major step towards being more efficient and reducing the carbon footprint of each shipment.
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