Recent Comments

Channel 19

Todd Dills

‘Our trucks can move a ton of freight…’

| June 10, 2009

You’ve heard the ads, running typically something like this: “our trains can move a ton of freight 436 miles on just a single gallon of fuel,” as goes a frequent one aired on National Public Radio by CSX.

I’ve tried to reverse-engineer what I’ve guessed to be the logic in the underlying calculation here and came up with one for trucking companies: if a typical sleeper truck at around 26,000 lbs. can move 27 tons of freight 6 miles on a single gallon of fuel, then couldn’t it move just one of those tons 27 times that length, or 162 miles, on a single gallon? Not hardly, but you get the point.

Industry analyst John Schultz brought the ads up in a commentary on a story from Progressive Railroading, a trade mag that claims to be the “rail professionals’ information source,” as Schultz notes, then going on: “That’s kind of funny. The trucking industry execs that I talk with always got a kick out of the name ‘Progressive Railroading.’ More than one trucker has privately quipped to me: ‘Progressive Railroading, eh? That’s kind of like tallest midget news or military intelligence. What an oxymoron.'”

In any case, his analysis of the article, “Trucking industry’s near-term fundamentals are ‘as bad as we’ve ever witnessed’,” might be worth a look if you’re wondering what some of your customers — i.e. those railroad professionals — are saying about the industry. Find Schultz’s piece, “If the Rails Are Worried About Trucking’s Profitability, Should We?”, here.

And for more here on truck-rail relationship wrinkles, see this post from March.

Tipping The Scales: Time To Trade In And Trade Up With Cummins ISX15 SmartAdvantage.

Notice: Overdrive is transitioning to a new comment platform due to technical problems with the former commenting system. The new commenting system is now live. We are currently in the process of moving all of the comments from the old system into the new system. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.