Going Green? Ship by Rail.


Sun, Apr 22, 2018 11:09 AM


Happy Earth Day from The Greenbrier Companies!

For more than 35 years, Greenbrier has pioneered the manufacturing of railcars used for modern-day shipping. Transportation by rail is long recognized throughout the industry for being cost-efficient, but the environmental benefits, including lower fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, are less well-known.  

As markets go global, economies worldwide are increasingly dependent on the ability to ship and receive goods. In the U.S. alone, 54 tons of freight per person is delivered annually (Association of American Railroads, AAR). The railroad industry has met the growing demand for the movement of goods, while simultaneously improving fuel efficiency. By investing in new technology and reallocating funds into building more sustainable practices, rail has become one of the most environmentally friendly ways to move goods. According to AAR, in 1980, U.S. railroads were moving freight at 235 miles per gallon of fuel. Today, the same amount can be moved an average of 468 miles per gallon, a 99% increase.

Intermodal train in forrest

One freight train has the capacity to replace several hundred trucks and is four times more fuel efficient than similar transport by truck (AAR, Federal Railroad Administration), so relying on rail reduces both highway congestion and fuel use. If just 10% of the freight that currently moves by truck instead went by rail, fuel savings would approach 1.5 billion gallons per year, the equivalent of planting 400 million trees (AAR). On Earth Day and every day, shipping by rail is smart and sustainable.