Nearly 85 percent of the freight hauled in this country is done so by truckers.
Iowa State University Business Professor Michael Crum says high gas prices are forcing trucking companies to look at new modes of moving product, including partnerships with railroads. "The use of rail intermodal increases every year in record volumes," Crum says, "but in terms of the nation’s overall freight bill, it’s still not very large."
Crum says shippers, for the most part, don’t seem to think rail is cost effective at this time. Crum expects there will come a time when there’s much better coordination between railroads and trucking companies, "from a national perspective I think we’re really underachieving."
Crum says loading semi-trailers on railcars, for the longest part of a trip, would save a lot of energy. "I do think from a public policy perspective," Crum says. "We do need to do more to encourage rail-truck intermodal."