What and where is it profitable to transport by rail - GLC blog
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Cargo transportation by railway has a number of important advantages and is therefore widely used in organizing domestic and international cargo transportation. Delivery of various types of products in containers is especially popular. But, like other types of delivery, there are also some nuances here. Therefore, logisticians GLC We decided to help understand all these intricacies and explain what and where it is profitable to transport by rail.

What cargo can be transported in containers

Approximately 30% of all goods transported by rail are in containers, which are durable metal structures. Designed for packaging and transporting a wide range of products, as well as personal items. Most often, container rail freight transportation is used for the following categories of cargo:

  • Prefabricated;
  • Packed in separate boxes and crates;
  • Bulk;
  • Food products, including perishables;
  • Construction materials;
  • Furniture;
  • pharmaceutical products;
  • Electrical appliances;
  • Spare parts and components and many others.

In addition, in special containers it is allowed transportation of dangerous goods which is carried out in agreement with the state administration.

Types of railway containers

One of the key advantages of container transportation is its fast loading and unloading, as well as transshipment to other modes of transport, such as sea or road, using lifting equipment. To make this convenient, all containers are standardized and divided according to several parameters.

  1. Load capacity. There are small-tonnage (gross weight does not exceed 3 tons), medium-tonnage - (up to 10 tons and up to 5 tons for railways) and large-tonnage (over 10 tons, they are also called sea - for 20 and 40 feet).
  2. Dimensions. There are the following types - standard (marked DV, ST, GP), increased in width (PW), increased in height (HC), with a removable hard lid (HT), with an open top, covered with a tarpaulin (OT), platform container ( FR).
  3. By volume. This parameter is especially important when forming groupage cargo.

For different types of containers, different types of railway cars are used. For example, large-capacity containers require the use of long-base platforms. Other types of containers are most often transported on standard platforms or gondola cars.


Advantages of rail container transportation

Packing various cargoes in a container allows you to protect them from the adverse effects of external factors, simplify the process of loading and unloading operations, ensure a high degree of safety and security (it is quite difficult to open a metal structure without visible damage), providing documentation for the transported goods allows you to speed up inspection procedure without opening the container.

Other advantages of this method of cargo transportation include:

  • A wide range of products permitted for transportation in railway containers;
  • Minimum probability of delays, since the movement of trains is strictly regulated by the schedule;
  • Ease of use when organizing multimodal deliveries;
  • Simplified customs clearance procedure;
  • Relatively low cost;
  • The best option for groupage cargo;
  • The container is reusable and can be used for a long time;
  • Versatility - can be used for various cargoes and on the territory of almost all countries, and as part of multimodal transportation and all over the world.

There are also some disadvantages here. First of all, this concerns the connection to existing routes, the relative complexity of preparing accompanying documentation, the presence of restrictions on geographical location, the need to reload or replace wheeled carts of a railway train, it is impossible to send the goods on the day of request.

Taking into account all of the above factors, we can draw the following conclusion: container rail freight transportation is most profitable when transporting large consignments of goods or consolidated cargo over long distances, as well as when used in combined delivery schemes from near and far abroad countries and within the country.


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