Coast to Coast, by Rail

June 22nd, 2010 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Coast to Coast, by Rail

It’s amazing how many trucks travel west coast to east coast every year filled with fresh produce, and sadly, releasing plenty of CO2 into the atmosphere. For the past year Albert’s has significantly lightened our coast-to-coast trucking travel by increasing our rail use (by 55%), which also means lighter CO2 emissions. The Rail system we most frequently use is called Railex, a new and innovative shipping method for transporting fresh food across country.

The easiest way to explain Railex – it’s like catching a ride with many of the other companies who are shipping refrigerated food across the country. Each week from California and Washington, 3 trainloads travel across country filled primarily with produce and other refrigerated items. Obviously, no one company fills out these trains, so you have quite a few companies pooling their product together to fill out the box cars, maximizing transportation efficiency. This transportation has huge benefits both for the product as well as the environment. Here are a few of the key attributes for this rail system:

– It has different temperature rooms that allow for all types of commodities.

– The train travels non-stop, so your product remains in tact avoiding issues like shifting, bruising, temperature changes and time delays, all of which occur with the usual frequent stops and rail switching.

– The railcars are both loaded and unloaded inside a cool facility – not breaking the cold chain. Most rail shipping often involves loading and unloading outside.

– Each train consists of 55 refrigerated boxcars traveling from some of the most fertile growing regions in the country. Each boxcar holds 3-4 truckloads worth of product, or over 200 truckloads per train. With 3 trains running per week, that keeps the equivalent of 600 trucks going cross country and back off the road.

– Railex trains are 3 times more fuel-efficient than trucks; while emitting 3 times less CO2 than trucks.

– Each train saves 5.2 million gallons of fuel per year.

– A single train can haul one ton of freight more than 436 miles on a single gallon of gasoline.

Railex and similar type rail lines are definitely the future for transporting our food across country. The old truck is beginning to seem a little like a dinosaur these days . . . but, until we have a rail system going from store to store . . . well, you’re still likely to see the Albert’s truck pulling up to your dock. See you then.