Truck Problems = Rail Boon?

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Truck Problems = Rail Boon?

TRUCKING is in trouble. Have you had any trouble getting trucks to load or rates that work? What seems the be the problem? And is this good news for railroads?

Driver shortages (new hires and retention), Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s), Hours-Of-Service, congestion and many other factors have significantly impacted the trucking industry. When you must ship your product yet begin to lose business or suffer pricing drops because you are unable to ship, is rail a viable alternative?

According to The Wall Street Journal (Freight Railroads Get Boost from Tight Trucking Markets, By Jennifer Smith and Paul Ziobro, May 1, 2018), “Freight railroads are capitalizing on a historically tight trucking market as companies move more shipments from highways to rails.” Of course, rail tends to be slower and unless you have rail service you might have never considered it. And even if you have rail service if your operation is not configured to load rail or you have no experience using rail it can seem daunting or not worth pursuing.

The Smith/Ziobro article cites AAR data that “the number of truck trailers moving on major railroad networks expanded 15.3% in the first quarter from the same period a year ago,” and is headed for record volumes. Also noted is fuel prices, and the higher we see fuel prices at the pump the more attractive rail becomes.

Are you shifting more to rail, or have you even considered it? Some suggestions from Iron Horse Logistics Group include:

  1. If you have rail service and the experience, knowledge and processes in place, compare. You might be surprised.

  2. If you have the rail service but lack the know-how or processes, contact a third party with that experience and ability. (Ahem, Iron Horse Logistics Group…)

  3. If you have no rail service don’t immediately discount the rail option. Transload locations nearby can reload onto rail, and finding trucking for the short haul to that transload is a different ballgame than over-the-road.

  4. Consider intermodal if you have no rail option directly. Similar to item 3, a shorthaul (drayage) to move your truckload to a rail site that loads intermodal can put your load on rail and availability for such drayage is much better than truckload door-to-door service.

Iron Horse Logistics Group provides the experience, knowledge, and processes to make any and all of the above options viable alternatives. Don’t let trucking issues hinder your business. For a free assessment and discussion give me a call at 330-617-4104 or email me at

By | 2018-05-02T10:25:52-05:00 May 2nd, 2018|logistics|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dennis Wilmot started Iron Horse in January 2002 after eleven years working for rail carriers and sixteen years for private corporations. My full details are available @

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