Rail freight management is key to realizing the incredible cost savings of rail shipping over other popular methods. As the cost of fuels continues to climb more and more companies need to find efficient ways to move their products to market and rail looks better all the time. Air freight and trucking can’t come close to the low friction efficiency of steel wheels rolling on smooth steel rails. Rail shipping is typically three times as efficient as trucking.
There’s only one drawback and that has to do with handling rail freight management. Many companies find that dealing with railroad companies is very daunting and time consuming. Railroad companies have long histories of how they do things and are subject to many laws and regulations. It all adds up to rail freight management being a confusing and complex struggle for any company trying to get started with rail shipping.
Rail Freight Management Issues
What kinds of problems and issues will your company probably face getting started shipping by rail? To start with, you may find that capacity isn’t available when you need it. Producers of perishables often all want to ship at the same time of year and the resulting competition causes railroads to raise prices. Mergers in the rail industry have also resulted in fewer choices and again the pressure is on to raise prices as your competitors bid for capacity.
Another rail freight management issue that you may face concerns the reliability of transit time for long distance shipping. Railroads are not always very efficient at getting cars through the switching yards. Rail freight cars can spend typically up to 80% of the time sitting in switching yards waiting to be attached to a forwarding train.
Rail Freight Management Success
For your company to successfully use rail shipping you need to have tracking systems to make sure the carrier gives your shipments the priority you need. Without the railroad contacts and knowledge of which railroads will use the most efficient alternate routings you could easily find shipments arriving at their destination too late.
Just four railroads are doing 80% of the shipping so your choices for using competition to get better pricing or service are very limited. Heightened demand for rail shipping in recent years has caught all the railroads with insufficient rolling stock to satisfy everyone. Only the companies with insider relationships are going to get the best service. If you are thinking to yourself that the challenges of rail shipping are too far out of your company’s expertise then you may want to consider using an outside firm for your rail freight management.
A company that specializes in rail freight management as a service can see to it that you realize the savings of rail shipping by getting you started quickly and keeping your shipments on track and on time. You may also find the cost of using such a service is far less than operating an in house department. Don’t let fear of the complexities hold you back. Significant savings can be yours when you switch to rail shipping using a proper system of rail freight management.