Energy Use in Intermodal Transportation
The benefits of an intermodal transportation system are profound in terms of cost, time, and emissions reductions. A lot of research has focused on how exactly freight shipping companies can utilize intermodal freight transit for added value and reduced ecological impact. Overall, they have found that intermodal models of freight transportation are better for the environment and increase profits.
Furthermore, the movement toward intermodal freight transit is spurred by the need to make shipping more efficient in terms of costs and environmental impacts. By combining different modes of shipping, intermodal transit allows greater flexibility at a reduced cost.
How Intermodal Transit Fosters Greater Efficiency
The best way to analyze the efficiency of intermodal transit is to start at the beginning of the supply chain and follow it through to the end. These models combine sea, rail, and truck shipping for added value at every point in the chain.
Modern container ships are capable of handling goods more quickly and effectively, while consuming fewer resources. Steel and aluminum containers are reusable and recyclable, in addition to allowing for greater efficiency in use of space on ships, meaning ships can carry more goods and make fewer trips. Reduced time in port also means fewer resources are consumed during the loading and unloading process.
When the containers leave the ships, they are usually first loaded onto freight rail for the next leg of their journey. Whereas trucks were most often utilized in the past, freight rail is both faster and more efficient. Freight consumes less petroleum than any other transit mode and with less potential for damage or theft. Furthermore, freight rail shipping reduces congestion on highways and in cities by taking freight trucks off the roads. Lastly, rail is unique in that it combines high speed and capacity with decreased resistance from air and surface, allowing it to get more work done with less energy.
This means that trucks only need to be used in the last leg of the journey where their flexibility is most effective. For these short distances, companies can use small trucks with greater fuel efficiency than their diesel freight counterparts. Trucks are most suitable for this part of the journey where the higher costs and lower capacities are minimized in impact and their ability to go anywhere on the road is most useful.
Intermodal Transit Combines Greater Efficiency and Economies of Scale
Because it is possible to ship more in less time with intermodal transit systems, businesses can take advantage of economies of scale with reduced environmental impact. Research into more aerodynamic freight train designs and loading procedures has further reduced intermodal transit energy use.
Because of the increased efficiency of intermodal freight trains, we can now transport a ton of freight 457 miles on one gallon of fuel, which is a 94% increase since 1980. By using diverse modes of transit, companies are lowering fuel consumption and streamlining their operations.
GTG Technology group offers excellent intermodal freight transit solutions that make it easy to take advantage of the benefits of this method. Be sure to contact us to find out how to most effectively manage your supply chain logistics.