The Pros and Cons of Rail Siding

Posted on April 12, 2019

The Pros and Cons of Rail SidingIn the shipping business, it’s good to have options. Products have delivery deadlines, and consumers want their products in as little time as possible. Rail siding or rail-siding companies may not be familiar terms for everyone. Rail siding is a term that describes specific railways off the main track where cars can be interchanged to ship freight by train from one location to another. Rail-siding warehouses are companies that will offer their services for shipping products to other warehouses before being sent out for delivery.

Every means of shipping or transportation has its benefits. What sets them apart is what solution will work best for a specific company or product. Here are some of the positives as well as negatives to rail siding:

The Pros

Fuel efficient
Rail siding is a solid option that is both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Instead of emitting all of those harmful chemicals into the atmosphere with gas, you can utilize freight that has a much lower greenhouse-gas emission. This reduces your company’s carbon footprint and roadway congestion. According to a statistic by the AAR, one ton of freight can travel 436 miles on only one gallon of fuel. That’s a lot more than any truck you could get your hands on.

Dependable and versatile
Another solid benefit of rail-siding warehouses is that they are dependable. Weather conditions will not affect their operations because snow, rain, or sleet won’t impede their progress. Trucks can pose a danger on a snow-covered road, but on a track, rail siding can travel much farther distances and still remain safe.

Not only is rail siding dependable, but it’s also versatile. It is capable of moving heavy or bulky items from one destination to the next, and you even have the option of adding more cars to the train for additional space to ship goods.

Every business has a bottom line that they want to meet, and shipping can take its toll on the budget. Rail siding is significantly cost effective because you can move more cargo with one train that you can with several trucks. This results in less cost and a bonus of dependability in your freight shipping.

The Cons

Accessibility & delays
One of the main downsides to rail siding is accessibility. Rail-siding warehouses are needed in order to transport goods; you can’t just pull up to a train car and load it up. You need a proper warehouse that is organized and equipped to handle the load. Due to this, transportation can sometimes be delayed if products have to be delivered from one facility to another in order to be transported by rail. Additionally, if a train has to make multiple stops, that can slow delivery times. So accessibility to a warehouse is key to get your products transported rapidly.

While rail siding has nowhere near as many incidents as tractor trailers or large trucks on the highway, there are certainly times where serious accidents can happen. If there is an issue with a track, a derailment can occur and create large problems on the railway. Additionally, highway crossing collisions can also be an issue. While they aren’t as common as car accidents, they still do happen.

Shipping has a serious impact on big business, especially if you aren’t handling it most effectively. Most companies will make shipping decisions based on the type of products they need to ship and the tools necessary to make that happen. Rail siding may not be the solution for every company, but it does have an important place in the shipping industry.

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