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Trucking and Rail-freight Can we restore the balance ? Natalie Litwin -President Daniel Hammond - Past President Transport Action Ontario Can we restore the balance ? If rail transport is so efficient and great for the environment, why did trucks come to dominant freight transport?

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trucking and rail freight

Trucking and Rail-freight

Can we restore the balance?

Natalie Litwin -President

Daniel Hammond - Past President

Transport Action Ontario

can we restore the balance
Can we restore the balance?
  • If rail transport is so efficient and great for the environment, why did trucks come to dominant freight transport?
  • Can we have an environmentally sustainable freight transport system without bankrupting us?
  • Can this be done while stimulating economic growth?
how we got here
How we got here
  • Railways once the dominant mode of inland freight transport
  • Mechanized rail superior to animal drawn road transport for all but the shortest distances
  • Most businesses that used freight services once located near rail lines or spurs to avoid use of real horse-power cartage
how we got here4
How we got here
  • Mechanization of road transport in the 20th Century created development away from rail lines and terminals
  • Rail remained as the dominant carrier of freight
  • Manufacturers, warehouses remained next to the rail lines
how we got here5
How we got here
  • Just-in-time delivery of freight is not new
  • In 1946, the New York Central Railway introduced Pacemaker service
  • Overnight delivery thru-out most of New York state (with steam powered trains!)
  • Myth debunked that rail cannot provide “just-in-time” service
how we got here6
How we got here
  • By 1950, Pacemaker service was extended to St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Cleveland, Toledo
  • With delivery times as good as the best ever offered by the trucking industry
  • All on infrastructure that was built and maintained with private capital
how we got here7
How we got here
  • In 1956, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act  into law
  • Railways now have to compete for capital and traffic with the largest public works program in history
how we got here8
How we got here
  • In retrospect, did the railways protect the interests of their shareholders during the debate of the

Federal-Aid Highway Act ?

  • Would today’s AT&T, Rogers, Verizon and Bell Canada stand by while a public financed cell phone or fibre optic network was constructed?
we are here
We are Here
  • Public financed infrastructure
  • Advances in automotive technology
  • Government policies favouring highway transport (including permitting ever larger vehicles) and requiring railways to maintain an extensive network despite declining traffic
  • Caused a massive shift of freight traffic from rail to road
  • The myth that the free market chose highway transport is now busted
we are here10
We are Here
  • Less traffic with a post-war sized network, along with less access to capital (competition with government and the road transport companies for capital)
  • Quality of this extensive rail network declined rapidly
  • Delivery times lengthened and railways lost very profitable time sensitive traffic to highways with the decline accelerating in this viscous circle
we are here11
We are Here
  • Staggers Act of 1980 reduced the regulation of railway industry
  • This regulatory freedom permitted reduction of rail network
  • Financially stronger railways improved the network that remained
we are here12
We are Here
  • Exportation of manufacturing
  • Growth of container shipping
  • Big box retail
  • Double-stack container trains
  • Caused an explosion in rail traffic
  • Shatters the myth that consumer goods are not handled by railways
we are here13
We are Here
  • Few terminals equipped to handle double stack container trains equals truck hauls the same or longer as when goods where manufactured in USA and Canada
where we want to be
Where We Want to Be
  • Reduce fuel use (less CO2 and other emissions, less dependence on foreign petroleum)
  • Reduce costs
  • Reduce land use
where we want to be15
Where We Want to Be
  • Rail uses 1/7th the energy to move freight
  • Rail can be electrified (less, or no, foreign oil, use of wind or solar generated)
  • Rail is less effected by weather
  • Rail is much higher in labour and land use productivity
  • Secondary railways for local freight and public transit can be constructed for less than an arterial road
  • Technology exists for economic rail short-haul of freight and international intermodal containers
where we want to be a plan to get there
Where We Want to Be – A Plan to Get There
  • Reduce public spending on highways
  • Spending reduced to a level that maintains existing infrastructure
  • Halt new projects and expansion
  • Avoid use of PPP (Public Private Partnership) to creatively finance uneconomic/non-sustainable projects
where we want to be a plan to get there17
Where We Want to Be – A Plan to Get There
  • Tax and policy incentives for investments in local intermodal terminals, (reduce truck haul), electrification of rail, short-line (existing or new track)
  • Tax credits for shippers to increase use of rail freight
  • Diversion of highway funding towards HSR – High Speed Rail