According to Research, there are around 15 million trucks on the highways of United States, out of which 2 million are tractor trailers. Such trucks carry massive quantities of freight. Undoubtedly, a major chunk of Logistics activities is carried out by road. It does not imply that railways have no part to play in the nation’s Logistical endeavors. Rail freight is an equally popular mode of shipment in the United States. The reason they appear scarce is due to their limited sightings in major areas.
The many benefits Rail offers over Road are:
A Reliable Companion
Rails are no longer what they used to be when they initially started out. Modern technology has made the railroads well-equipped with state-of-art technology including satellite tracking, GPS monitoring, and other visibility options.
A Cost Effective Alternative
From the viewpoint of distance covered and quantity carried, the train works out to be a cheaper mode of shipment as compared to trucks.
An Environment-friendly Mode of Transportation
Both electric, as well as diesel trains, tend to be environmentally friendlier in comparison to trucks. Trains can lower the company’s carbon footprints considerably. The major reason behind this is the advantage of volume and distance the rails offer, which increase their efficiency. As per the Association of American Railroads (AAR), a train can efficiently carry the shipment carried by around 280 freight trucks.
A Safer and Flexible Alternative
According to The Association of American Railroads (AAR), trains are a comparatively safer mode of transportation than trucks. Trains are also flexible when it comes to the variety of goods it can carry.
In light of the above factors, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that more and more companies should opt for train freight rather than truck freight. The requirements of a train freight are quite different to a Truck freight. Therefore, it is imminent for companies to modify their Transportation Management System (TMS) to incorporate the necessary changes.
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Train Vs. Truck
Planning, Execution, Visibility, and Audit, covered in the fundamental truckload-oriented TMS are absent in the rail-oriented one. Logistics companies must plan, devise and implement a strategy that well complies with Rail-suitability with their TMS as well.
The First Step of Planning
Companies must work a comprehensive plan detailing all the aspects of their train-oriented TMS. It should cover the cost, risks, delays, etc. Research is inevitable. Since planning is in correlation to research, it is necessary to track trustworthy data sources for planning shipment strategies.
Competent Execution of the Plan
The next step is the execution of the rail-friendly TMS plan. According to the compliances of HAZMAT, there are bound to be performance gap in the effectiveness of train- oriented TMS and a truck-oriented TMS.
Address the Purpose of Visibility
It is necessary for train freights to cater to the element of visibility to ensure proper tracking of the shipment. The new TMS must comply with this requirement effectively. It must be capable of precisely tracking positions of the train. Companies could use tools like Car Location Messages for the purpose of managing data related to CLM transmissions. It will be helpful in the estimation of ETAs. A sound TMS uses historical data and algorithm to create ETA calculations; that is used to generate reports around better modal tradeoff decisions.
The Matter of Freight Audit and Payment (FAP)
Due to its complex nature, it is important to monitor the finances and financiers involved in the train freight system. For example, an average train shipment has to pass at least three carriers before making it to its delivery point.
It is crucial to devise a strong framework of TMS that is equally suitable to your train freight needs. A multi-modal TMS can be much more beneficial to your Logistics business than you would have imagined. A competent train oriented TMS can successfully deliver all your inbound as well as outbound freight requirements when done properly.