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Major Investment Plans for American Rail Networks

With forecasts of significant growth in the quantity of goods that will be transported in the coming years it is vital that the intermodal freight networks continue to be developed and upgraded in order to be able to accommodate that increase. After enduring a period of decline the American rail network has seen a return to relevance in recent years as the road transport that had largely displaced rail became much more expensive. This focus on efficiency in freight transport has inspired redevelopment and expansion of the American rail networks as the cost effectiveness of rail freight continues to surpass trucking costs. This development of the American rail networks and freight handling facilities is being backed by an investment of $24.5 billion in the rail networks by the nation’s major freightrailroad companies. Of this, $13 billion is earmarked for capital expenditure to be used for the enhancement of their physical infrastructure and safety systems1 that is necessary to keep pace with the increased capacity being demanded of the system. This expenditure is being used in part to create more intermodal freight terminals to facilitate an ever greater efficiency of train to truck transfers. There are also significant investments being made by many companies in new rolling stock with the aim… read more »

Alternative Truck Fuels to Replace a Dwindling Resource

Trucks carry over two thirds of all of the freight that is transported across America and in doing so they consume almost 70% of all of the energy that is consumed1 for our total transport needs. Fuel is the single largest operating expense for trucks and a single commercial truck can consume as much as 20,000 gallons of diesel per year costing around $70,0002. This is a huge amount of resources especially in an environment where fuel is becoming more expensive as the reserves become increasingly depleted. With an estimated 750,000 interstate motor carriers in the US, finding ways to reduce fuel costs has become an important issue. Late in 2011 President Obama introduced legislation that sets the goal of improving fuel economy in trucks by as much as 20% by 2018. Commercial trucks use around 22 billion gallons of diesel in a year and experts are suggesting that that volume could be cut significantly. While finding more efficient ways to use existing diesel fuels is a significant step forward there are also a number of other initiatives for finding alternative truck fuels currently underway. A long term project in California involving the supermarket chain Raley’s3 has been studying the… read more »

Will the Carbon Footprint of Shipping Sink Maritime Logistics?

In an increasingly environmentally aware world, going green has become good for business and having an environmentally friendly public profile can now be crucial. Because of the huge amount of fuel that they consume and the size of many shipping lines, maritime industries are now coming under closer scrutiny for the impact that they are having on the environment. In addition, the implementation of a carbon tax in many countries has had shipping companies looking seriously at how they can manage their carbon footprint. Global shipping accounts for 3.3% of CO2 emissions worldwide with 2.7% being contributed by international shipping1. While this may sound like a small amount in comparison to other industries it still represents the equivalent CO2 output of a small country and it is also thought that unless the issue is addressed now that it could eventually grow to as much as five or six times that amount by 2050. Another issue facing the maritime freight industry is one of public perception. Even though transport by ship is the most carbon efficient method for moving freight, mostly due to economies of scale, the ships themselves are known to consume huge amounts of fuel and to produce large… read more »