Truck or Train? The Great Freight Debate

truck diesel

Whether you run a corner shop or an international company, logistics will always play a part. Admittedly, it’s unlikely to be too significant in the example of the former, but once your business does get to a certain level it’s time to start considering which logistics route is the most beneficial.

This blog post is going to mainly concentrate on businesses that place most of their efforts in one country. While there will always be a debate regarding the pros and cons of air and freight transport, when it comes to domestic logistics we’re usually left with two options. Therefore, we’ll now take a look at all of the issues you should consider if you are still unsure whether to opt for truck or train shipping.

truck diesel


From a fuel perspective, the train can trump the truck quite emphatically. While it’s debatable for shorter journeys, for long hauls the savings can be significant. For example, some trains are capable of using just one gallon of fuel for 500 miles with the average load, while the emergence of energy efficient fuel alternatives makes the situation even more promising. We don’t even need to stipulate how much fuel the average truck will consume – any driver will know the astronomical vehicle costs of the current day.


The issue of speed is certainly debatable as while trains are the faster mode of transport, this does not necessarily mean that your goods are going to arrive more quickly. Unless your end destination happens to be situated right next to the station, you’ll most probably have to utilise another mode of transport to complete the journey. This of course means that you will have to unload the train and load the truck – something that is by no means a short process.

During the time it takes to complete the delivery, the truck will most probably have managed to catch up with the load. With that being said, several logistics firms are gradually lowering the speed of their vehicles in a bid to save on the ever-increasing fuel costs. Nevertheless, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is the main reason why companies prefer truck transport to rail transport – it’s just a much easier way of delivering their products to other destinations.


Unfortunately, the train freight industry is not as open to security systems as what trucks are. Over the years it has become apparent that trucks are being targeted by criminals and in a bid to deter this, companies such as have devised solutions that include high-security locks and tracking devices. Nevertheless, with goods being on trains for such short periods of time, you could argue that the security risks are lower anyway.

Environmental Issues

As you may have gathered from the opening stages of this article, rail also seems the winner from an environmental perspective. As well as utilising much less fuel than trucks, trains emit less greenhouse gasses which is exactly what the government is looking to encourage at the moment.