Wednesday, August 22

US Cargo Moves by Rail - EU Cargo, by Truck

This is not something you would expect to see in Europe, cargo moving by truck. There are two reasons this is a surprise. First, moving cargo by rail is much more efficient than by truck, which releases more global warming gases as a byproduct. Secondly, by my experience, the road network in Europe is not as good as the Interstate road network in the US.
Europe’s dependence on trucks stems from the failure of its vaunted passenger-rail network to provide a cheap, efficient alternative for cargo.

Between 1995 and 2005, the percentage of European goods shipped by truck rose to 73% from 68%, while rail’s share fell to 17% from 20%. The rest goes by canal or, in the case of oil and gas, pipelines.

In the U.S. in 2005, 42% of freight was moved by train and 33% by truck. - Wall Street Journal
Apparently, Europe's rail network was not built to withstand cargo traffic or does not have the capacity to add cargo traffic. There is also the issue that you can't move a train from one country in Europe as easily as you can a car. This is not a problem in the US when traveling from one state to another. Score one for Federal power trumping that of states.

So, at least in terms of land transport, it is Europe that needs to catch up to the US.

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