This paper will present the criteria for the marketing, design and operational success of a transload facility. As the nation’s highway infrastructure continues to struggle with needed maintenance, the cost of fuel continues at historical highs coupled with a desire to reduce the overall carbon emissions of moving freight, alternative methods of moving product are required by shippers. Rail provides alternatives to accomplish the movement of intercity freight while addressing many of these concerns.
Transload facilities, taking product from trucks to railcars or vice versa, provide a mechanism for non-railroad served industries to utilize rail transportation. The design of the facility, its level or frequency of service from the railroad, its internal layout, operational and inventory systems, and material handling systems for the product being handled are all important considerations that must be understood and optimized for these facilities to be successful.
Profitable operation and growth of a transload facility is a challenge met by combining knowledge about trucking, warehousing and railroading. After managing a large transload network while with a Class One railroad, owning and operating transloads, designing them for a variety of commodities, and interviewing Operators across the country over the past 15 years, I have found a few critical success criteria to be consistent across all transloads.