Rail Transportation & Logistics

A railway line is still an option for the transportation of oil in its crude form to refineries and processing facilities.
Initially, it was replaced by the pipeline technique after it was considered a stopgap process. However, it underwent development to become one of the popular means of oil transportation in this age.

Rail Oil Transportation

For over 150 years, rail transport had been the primary way to move oil across the country. Even today, the U.S. rail network, spreading across 155,342 miles, devotes 80% of its infrastructure to freight lines that transport energy products like crude oil, ethanol, propane, asphalt, and other petroleum derivatives.

At a time when there weren’t sufficient pipelines to meet demand, the oil industry used the railways to transport crude. But the idea of shipping natural gas that way on a large scale is currently a topic of hot debate, due to a variety of potential risk factors.

Moving crude from its source to the refineries around the nation can also be efficiently done by rail. Although this was first considered to be a stopgap technique until pipelines could be built, it has developed into a popular transport method. Some of the benefits of railway transport include:

  • Low Cost Set Up – It takes a short time to recover the capital costs of setting up railway infrastructures to move gas and oil.
  • Short Construction Time – Building new rail infrastructures takes a relatively short amount of time. Some estimates give lead times of only 12 to 18 months from startup to fruition.
  • Fleet Resources – Rail operations can easily access a mass amount of fleet resources, such as rail crews, railway cars, locomotives, and extra tracks.
  • Shorter Transit Times – Transporting crude via train has a fairly short transit time. Shipping fuel from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast only takes one to two weeks
  • Quick Response to Market Fluctuations – Railway carriers are able to respond rapidly to changes in the marketplace. This allows for flexibility to adapt to the ebbs and flows in the business of transporting gas and oil.
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