International rail freight transport (combined with shipping)- Can it replace trucks?

International rail freight transport strapa-pack

Due to the possibility of speed, unbound track and door-to-door delivery, many have chosen the popular road transport to transport their goods abroad. However, we are now facing new challenges: fuel prices are skyrocketing, AdBlue is in short supply, and it is very difficult to find a driver. Could rail freight transport possibly replace trucks?

More about the current problems of road transport

The transport of goods by road has been almost completely impossible in recent weeks, and it will probably get even worse later.

Fuel prices are skyrocketing

The reason for the incredibly high petrol price of HUF 500 and above is primarily due to the increase in demand after the pandemic, the drastic weakening of the Hungarian Forint and the global increase in energy prices. The latter can be explained by the need for a lot of energy to refine gasoline. As of 15 November, the government decided to put an end to this rise however, the fixed maximum price of HUF 480 applies only for the next 3 months and only for specific types (95 petrol and diesel).

RECENT UPDATE –There is a restriction in force from 30 July 2022 that only privately owned vehicles can be refueled at the discounted official price. This means that carriers have to calculate with gasoline prices at around HUF 700 per liter.

We are almost out of AdBlue additive

AdBlue is an important additive for newer diesel cars with SCR systems and trucks. Without it, it is impossible to meet the requirements for low emission levels. If the tank is empty, the electronics will be disabled after a while, and the vehicle simply does not start. Due to the European energy crisis or the 70% increase of the world market price for natural gas the manufacturers have switched to “saving mode” and AdBlue has become a niche. This is mainly a problem in (foreign) freight transport where frequent filling of the additive is required.

RECENT UPDATE – although the situation seemed to be resolved for a while, AdBlue shortage is expected to reoccur in autumn 2022. The main reason for this is that due to the high gas prices, the Slovakian chemical company Duslo Sala plans a temporary shutdown in manufacturing, which would endanger the supply of the entire region.

More and more drivers are missing

In spite of the high wage, trucking is an unattractive profession for the current youth. Tivadar Árvay, spokesperson of Hungarian Road Transport Association said in an interview he gave to Portfolio: Currently there are about 130 thousand drivers working in Hungary, most of them representing the age group of 40 and 50. They will retire early but there is no one to replace them. In addition, many people go abroad, especially to Great Britain, where there is a serious driver shortage so extremely high wages can be expected in this field.

The future of international transport: rail freight transport

The main advantage of rail freight transport over road transport is that wagons can transport higher quantities to bigger distances. Rail transport is fast and reliable, the least affected by weather conditions and traffic jams. Trains burn substantially less fuel per ton-mile than trucks, thus offering a more economical and at the same time more environmentally friendly alternative.

There is no need for an additive or a private driver to deliver the goods from A to B.

International rail freight transport (combined with shipping)

It’s no coincidence that there is a growing tendency for switching to multimodal transport solutions (LINK: MULTIMODAL) worldwide – the main reason for this is that the advantages of different modes of transport can be combined without the need for excess management. Combining rail and river (short sea) transport is currently the cheapest International method of transporting goods. Containers can be seamlessly transferred to the ferry without the need for multiple loading and unloading.

Is it difficult for you to cope with the new challenges of freight transport? If you have the possibility consider using a different mode of transport other than the expensive and complicated road transport! Re-think your logistical processes with great opportunities for rail and multimodal transport solutions.

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