Comparison of transport modes

There are different carriers available for the transport of goods. Therefore, the question regarding the optimum transport solution arises. Besides qualitative and economical aspects, ecology is taken more and more in to consideration. All carriers - vessel, train, truck - have assets and drawbacks depending on the weighting of the various points.

Whereas attributes such as Transport network, productivity, clearance gauge and reliability of the carrier allow a more economic assessment, other criteria such as CO² emissions, noise emission, energy consumption and external costs are becoming more and more a trigger for transport decisions, mainly for complex transport solutions. Because of a changing market behavior of the buying public the question of „the company's social responsibility“ for sustainable development receives increasingly more attention. Today clients are not only interested in the goods and the service, but also question their production and how it is in line with nature and society. Often that is the decision criterion for clients when considering comparable goods.

Taking these aspects into account the Planco-Institute published the final report „Transport economical and ecological comparison of the carriers Street, Railway and waterway“ in november 2007. Already known facts and new expertise were confirmed. In particular the inclusion of emissions such as noise and dust, which had been given rather little attention until now, changed the assessment in favor of the inland vessel:

  • When transporting bulk goods the inland vessel uses on average 67% less energy than the truck and 35% less than the train
  • The CO² emission per tonne-kilometer is 33,4 g for the inland vessel, 48,1 g for the train and 164 g fort he truck
  • When comparing external costs of traffic noise the inland vessel had the best results, without taking the bonus of the train into account (=subtraction of 5dB for trains because of a „differently“ perceived noise level on streets) the train even had the worst results

Besides ecological factors, a comparison of business transport costs was made (taking the costs for pre- and post-carriage for inland vessel and train into account):

* Source: „Transport economical and ecological comparison of the carriers street, railway and waterway - summary of the results“, Planco Consulting GmbH Essen

Are you interested in further information? Download the complete study from the WSD-East here.