Short lines are proud to be part of the U.S. freight rail network – the most environmentally-friendly way to move freight over land.
Railroads account for roughly 40% of U.S. long- distance freight volume but account for just 2.1% of transportation-related emissions.* If 10% of the freight shipped today by the largest trucks were moved by rail, greenhouse gas emissions would fall more than 17 million tons annually or the equivalent of removing 3.35 million cars from the road. A ton of freight moving by rail instead of truck reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.**
Already the leader in fuel-efficient surface transportation, the railroad industry is now making every effort to be a part of the solution to improving the environment, and the short line industry is all in on a variety of fronts.
Read ASLRRA’s November 19, 2021 letter to Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg, expressing support of the Administration’s Climate Action Plan.
Improving the Environmental Impact through Asset Upgrades, Technology and Behavior
Short lines are already efficient in the movement of freight from a fossil fuel-use standpoint. ASLRRA has joined the freight rail industry in supporting initiatives that further the reduction in environmental impact in a number of ways.
The rail industry is actively reducing its environmental impact through support of regulations such as the recent Federal Railroad Administration’s January 15, 2021, notice of proposed rulemaking to revise 49 C.F.R. Part 232 to address the use of electronic air brake slips (“eABS”) to track mechanical inspections and freight car mileage, which reduced the amount of time engines must spend idling during brake checks.
The industry is upgrading track which makes movement more efficient, and retro-fitting or replacing locomotives to improve emissions. The industry is finding ways to improve efficiency/reduce emissions by making changes in behavior of employees, and processes. The industry is adopting new technology that will further reduce its environmental impact.
ASLRRA became an affiliate member of EPA’s SmartWay program in 2020. SmartWay helps companies advance supply-chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency. It offers tools short lines can use to communicate how shipping by rail can help customers meet their company’s environmental goals. Reducing a company’s carbon footprint is a growing imperative but isn’t easy - we believe that shippers will move from truck to more fuel-efficient rail if we can adequately demonstrate our real contribution to that goal. Unilever and Home Depot are but two high profile examples of major shippers that are now publicly talking about the environmental benefits of using rail.
Both railroad and supplier members of ASLRRA can participate in the SmartWay program.
Join SmartWay and the ASLRRA to learn a fresh perspective on transporting freight. Presented by Peter Gilbertson, President and Chief Executive Officer Anacostia Rail Holdings Company; Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety, Regulatory, and Environmental Policy, ASLRRA; Kathleen Martz, Affiliate Program Manager; Justin Broyles, Vice President Commercial Development, RJ Corman Railroad Group; Mike Peters, Chief Commercial Officer North America, Genesee and Wyoming; Martin Pohlod, Senior Vice President Corporate Commercial, Genesee and Wyoming; and Chuck Baker, President, ASLRRA.
Listen to key representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay program and the ASLRRA for an introductory presentation about both organizations and a discussion about opportunities for collaboration. Presented by Kathleen Martz, Affiliate Program Manager, U.S. EPA/SmartWay & Supply Chain Programs Center; Erik Herzog, Benefits Analyst and Rail Tool Lead, U.S. EPA/SmartWay & Supply Chain Programs Center; and Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety, Regulatory, and Environmental Policy, ASLRRA.
Join ASLRRA and SmartWay for a discussion about how and why shippers use rail in moving freight, featuring representatives from SmartWay partners BASF and Celtic Logistics. Presented by Kathleen Martz, Affiliate Program Manager, EPA SmartWay; Erik Herzog, Environmental Scientist & Rail Lead, EPA SmartWay; Michael Vogt, Director, Logistics Procurement-North America, BASF Corporation; Paul Johnson, Vice President, Pricing, Celtic International LLC; Chuck Baker, President, ASLRRA; and Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety, Regulatory, and Environmental Policy, ASLRRA.
*According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Reporting
**Association of American Railroads (AAR) Freight Railroads & Climate Change Report, March 2021