As oil prices continure to escalate the costs for over the road transportation services will inevitably go up. Fuel is a large cost for over the road trucks. Will rail be used as a cost effective solution?
Rail has not been used in a large degree for household goods long distance moving. (moves over 1500 miles)
Past problems have included too many stops,longer transit times and the "jarring" that happens when rail cars stop or are decoupled at origin and destination. After all, household goods are not a commodity but a delicate specialized service that needs skilled people to load, pad, protect, deliver and set up.
This does not mean, however, that in the future rail will not play a part.
Rail firms have put vast amounts of capital into their networks. They now offer dedicated non stop services to many major centres and have advanced their decoupling technology. Of course, they have a big advantage in fuel efficientcy with the average rail service using only 28% per ton of fuel as compared to over the road trucks.
If protected correctly using an "international wrap" service, long distance moves can be sent with a quicker transit time and lower claims frequency than our traditional over the road service. At this point it is still costly to provide this service by rail but if oil prices continue to climb, this may indeed change in the future.
1200 Plains Road East
Burlington, Ontario L7S 1W6