SEVERAL MONTHS BACK, we discussed the current time as being perhaps the start of a new golden era for railroading. One of the reasons for this is the increasing regulatory burden on the trucking industry and the extra costs resulting from new federal safety mandates and driver-hours restrictions.
New technology, infrastructure improvements, and smart business moves have combined to make rail transport at least as practical and efficient as truck transport. In a growing number of “distant-move” circumstances, rail transport beats trucking hands down. Big trucking rigs will be with us for the long haul, but companies whose business is moving products from points A to B have to consider rail among their wise transportation choices.
The infrastructure improvements mentioned earlier aren’t limited to just the railroad companies. Businesses in the refrigerated warehousing industry are getting on board, too. At Adams Cold Storage, we can report that our rail siding operation to move products from and to refrigerated rail cars is now online — after four and half years of working with CSX to improve the tracks and switches on rail lines that feed our facility. Remaining work includes enclosing and refrigerating our covered dock next to our siding to ensure the cold chain.
Railroad companies are moving from 50-foot-long rail cars to 72-foot-long “jumbo” cars, increasing the load capacity from 165,000 pounds to 181,000 pounds per car. ACS already is set up to receive up to six jumbos, with their loads of refrigerated or frozen meats, sauces, cheeses, seafood, french fries, and other food products. Each of the jumbos can hold four tractor-trailer loads worth of goods, making the efficiency of rail transport obvious. You can move one ton of freight 480 miles on just one gallon of fuel!
It’s an exciting and opportune time for railroading, just as it is for any business in the cold-supply chain.
This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage.
column by BEN ADAMS, JR.
BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage LLC in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project currently under way.