The railcar transloading business has been in America for well over 100 years. The first ones were created by providing a service to those that needed an economical and safe way of transferring bulk material from railcars to tractor trailers.
The idea of this can from big industry. Most large manufacturing plants have their own transloading stations on site at their facilities. They also had a rail line running to them so the delivery of bulk material by railcar could be made.
There was a need to provide this service to the smaller business man and for industries that had small locations located in many different areas of the country. This evoked the American entrepreneur spirit in the pioneers in the transloading business.
When a feasibility study was conducted, it was determined that the average tractor trailer could make a delivery of bulk items in a 300 mile radius of a transloading station in just one day. This is the area in which any transloading station could solicit business from their community. By placing a transloading station in an area of the country that had business which needed this type of service, the building of transloading stations commenced.
It all depends on what types of industry is located in any 300 mile radius of a centrally located station that will determine if this is a profitable business venture. In the Marcellus shale rock basin in the north eastern portion of America, this service is needed by the natural gas and oil exploration companies.
This is a very large industry but they have multiple sites located in thousands of places in this area. For this reason it would not be economically feasible to run a rail line to each production well. By using a transloading station located within 300 miles of their well, the delivery of bulk material, like frac sand can be more efficiently and at a reduced cost than doing it themselves.
This saves the energy exploration companies money by them not having to spend capital on rail lines, a facility for the off loading of the material, the equipment to make the transfer and the storage bins for the material. By utilizing the transloading stations for the transfer and then the trailers as the storage bins, the cost of drilling a well is done at a lower cost.
This same service of railcar transloading is also used by many smaller businesses that have the need for large scale bulk items so the transportation costs are manageable. This also makes use of professionals that only handle bulk transfers for this task can be done at the lowest possible cost in the fastest time frame possible.
- Marcellus Drilling Transport (transloading.org)
- Transporting Sand for Natural Gas (transloading.org)
- Record Deliveries Signal Turnaround For This Railcar Maker (forbes.com)