We are also finding additional value-added services provided by refrigerated express unit trains in being able to chill products in transit. In an interview with one of the largest processors of fruits and vegetables, chilling in transit was a time saver as well as a significant reduction in storage, handling, and utility cost.
Rail operators are countering these long held beliefs that rail cannot compete with over-the-road truckers. As speed to market is a top priority, rail operators are investing heavily in improving infrastructure. Logistics operators are partnering with rail operators through the use of highly efficient trans-load and cross dock buildings. The use of refrigerated boxcars that can hold temperature in highly consistent and controlled ways while being monitored as often as required has been shown to be much more reliable than typical highway refrigerated trailers.
Express rail can run as fast as long-haul truckers. Higher volumes of products can be moved with less labor. Double-stack and boxcar economies can move more tonnage at less fuel, particularly with new locomotive and fuel technologies. As reefer capacity is becoming more of a strategic issue and operating challenge, it may be time to look at the often overlooked use of rail.