Intermodal Freight Transport and Environmental Sustainability

Posted : 12/3/12 8:41 AM

The whole world has been opened up by the expansion of transport networks including ports and shipping, railways and modern highways, so that it is now commonplace for produce from one part of the world to make its way to a market on the other side of the globe. The widespread use of containers for shipping goods has allowed for the development of a huge intermodal freight transport network that we have all come to rely on. While this has increased the variety of goods available to everyone it has also significantly added to transport costs and the amount of energy that it now takes to bring goods to the consumer who wants to buy them. The American transport networks are the busiest in the world and US railways alone carry more cargo than all of Western Europe’s network combined. In fact two-thirds of all of the oil that is used in the US is consumed within the transport sector while container and bulk cargo ships make up almost 3% of the world’s entire carbon footprint. With rising operational costs, dwindling fuel reserves and the introduction of carbon taxes in many countries, transport companies have been developing more sustainable operational models both economically and environmentally. Much of this development is in finding new alternatives to fossil fuels and through introducing more efficient modern vehicles but there has also been a lot of work on more proficient use of existing equipment. This includes initiatives such as ships reducing their cruising speed to decrease fuel consumption, which cuts carbon emissions and operational costs at the same time. Another valuable strategy has been to examine the types of transport that are used for various kinds of freight in order to reduce the amount of time that goods spend on high cost, high emission forms of transport like trucks. The key to this is to get the goods as close to their final destination in the most efficient way possible. This not only creates a positive impact on the environment but the added efficiency in handling also brings transport costs down. While the introduction of new fuels and better equipment may be the way forward, finding ways to use the existing intermodal transport network more efficiently can produce far more immediate results that extend all the way to the end of the supply chain. To examine the most efficient way to transport your freight you should contact to discuss your individual requirements.