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Transportation Maps - Rail and Ship

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MetalGear

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YoungPadawan

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Good stuff! I was just looking at this kind of stuff earlier today. I may be using the inland waterways for an upcoming project. (Grain transportation)
 

Kak

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Rail and barge are often forgotten methods of shipment domestically.

They are both extremely efficient for moving very large quantities of material.

Check out "intermodal" carriers too they will combine rail and truck as efficiently as possible and take out the stressful moving parts you would otherwise be dealing with to keep your goods on track.

Bottom line. If you are filling up 53 foot dryvans, rail should be something to look into.
 

SquatchMan

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Europeans always say the US has a crappy rail system, which is true.... for long-haul passenger transport. The distances are just too far.

However, we have a very good rail freight system. Rail is especially great for transporting large amounts of coal, grain, scrap metal, cars, chemicals, military vehicles, and all kinds of heavy and/or high volume goods very long distances.

Intermodal is especially useful if you're shipping a large amount of containers from Asia to your warehouse on the East coast.

That map only shows Class I railways too. We have Class II and Class III railways that usually only operate a few lines. Those are useful for short-haul transport.
 

MetalGear

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Rail and barge are often forgotten methods of shipment domestically.

They are both extremely efficient for moving very large quantities of material.

Check out "intermodal" carriers too they will combine rail and truck as efficiently as possible and take out the stressful moving parts you would otherwise be dealing with to keep your goods on track.

Bottom line. If you are filling up 53 foot dryvans, rail should be something to look into.

Europeans always say the US has a crappy rail system, which is true.... for long-haul passenger transport. The distances are just too far.

However, we have a very good rail freight system. Rail is especially great for transporting large amounts of coal, grain, scrap metal, cars, chemicals, military vehicles, and all kinds of heavy and/or high volume goods very long distances.

Intermodal is especially useful if you're shipping a large amount of containers from Asia to your warehouse on the East coast.

That map only shows Class I railways too. We have Class II and Class III railways that usually only operate a few lines. Those are useful for short-haul transport.

I'm not on the shipping container level yet, but these maps sure do put things into a different perspective!
 

YoungPadawan

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This past summer, I got to take a good look at the barge loading facilities of some of the agricultural big boys (Cargill, ADM) and watch grain and fertilizer be loaded onto the barges and watch as the seemingly-tiny pushboat pushed the barges. It's really a sight to see.

If sales are king, then distribution is queen. (Though distribution is arguably king in the commodity business.)

What do Standard Oil, Walmart, Amazon and Cargill all have in common? What is it about these companies that made them an unstoppable force in their industries? They owned their distribution!

When Standard Oil was getting started, Rockefeller pitted the railroads against each other so that he could get superior rebates on shipping his oil, which would annihilate his competitors. Later, he built his own pipelines to transport oil, which made the railroads pretty much obsolete for him, which gave him even further leverage to get favorable rebates.

In Sam Walton's autobiography, "Made in America," he goes into a bit of detail on how he crafted his distribution system, which gave him a superior advantage over his competitors.

Bezos actually took a lot of ideas from Sam Walton's autobiography on how he should craft Amazon and he understood how crucial the distribution portion of the business would be.

As for Cargill, it is the largest privately held company in the U.S. (I bet a lot of you didn't know that!) They use rail and barges, as well as charter ships to distribute their commodities to other countries. Which allows them to save large amounts of money, where they can then pay farmers better rates for their grain, which takes business away from the elevators that don't have that kind of a money-saving/making distribution system.

To make a long story short: If you want to create an unstoppable business, you don't want to outsource your distribution. It is an area where you can gain the most leverage.
 

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