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Rail May Provide A Greener Alternative To Conventional Shipping

Tuesday, 8th December 2009
The most common means for exporting or importing large amounts of goods is inside shipping containers, aboard vessels. However the vessels can obviously only go so far as the port and with larger and larger ships being built there are limited ports that are able to handle such deep draughts. Once the vessel has docked the boxes have to be unloaded and then reloaded to be delivered further inland, either by barge or road transport or in many cases both. Not only is all this double handling time consuming and costly it also leaves with it a significant carbon footprint. An alternative mode of transport that is being heavily invested into is rail. Private companies and governments are investing huge amounts in freight terminals to create rail freight networks the world over. This of course has not escaped the attentions of the shipping lines with many of the big names in the industry now also becoming significant stakeholders in some of the world’s largest rail companies. An example of this is the new rail network currently being built in China which will reportedly link up to the European rail grid at a later stage. Countries like the United States have been utilising rail to transport shipping containers for some time, even going so far as having double stacked carriages. Those companies slow to move with this fast growing trend will perhaps be left behind.

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