Whether you are looking to ship heavy freight, move more product at a time, or find efficiency when shipping nation-wide, rail services can be a huge benefit for your logistics operation. Whether you are looking to make improvements, or are starting to grow your business, rail shipments may be just right for your needs.
Energy Efficient Shipping
For a long time, rail has had a bad name for being dirty, and harmful for the environment due to the engines running and the smoke that locomotives produce. But in reality, shipping via rail is one of the most energy efficient ways to move product throughout the world! On average a rail car holds 100 tons of product and can hold up to 286,000 pounds! For every pound of freight carried on a rail line, a truck carrying that same load would consume three times more fuel; just think about the energy savings! The efficiency increase is because while a semi and trailer have one engine to one trailer, freight rail has 3 engines to hundreds and hundreds of rail cars.
There are seven class 1 railroads in the United states, they are the: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. These railroads make up 69 percent of U.S. freight rail mileage and 90 percent of employees (via Freightrailworks.org) Four of those service the Upper-Midwest, and Murphy has access to all four, which are the BNSF, CN, CP and UP in Minnesota. With the large amount and sheer size of product that is shipped via rail it is extremely important for the provider to have the capacity to handle it. Tall ceilings, and a large amount of square footage are essential for providers to have when servicing rail customers.
Expertise for Safety
The safety of your product is always one of the biggest concerns when outsourcing storage and transportation. That’s why experienced and skilled operators should load and unload product from cars. It is important to make sure that your 3PL options have experience with rail. Many providers have a lot of experience loading OR unloading cars, but do not have much experience in the other, they should be able to show you their operation to ensure that you are getting the right services. There are also a lot of upgrades that a provider can make to their facilities including: close clearance, indoor and bulk switches that will help with safety and efficiency.
As one of the Upper-Midwest’s largest rail suppliers Murphy is always extremely happy to help our customers find savings and efficiency with rail solutions. We offer rail solutions including loading, unloading, trans-loads and storage for customers of all sizes. Be sure to check out our rail solutions page to learn more! Thanks for reading, be sure to check back to learn about the growing logistics industry!