Shipping is an expense that businesses, large and small, have always looked for ways of reducing.  However, as the price of fuel continues to escalate, taking such money-saving measures is more important than ever.

This often sparks the long-standing debate about whether sending freight by rail, or by truck, is more cost-efficient.  Not surprisingly, this topic remains baffling, as each has its advantages and drawbacks.

Trucks, for example, available in a range of sizes, with various types of trailers, can haul anything, from paper goods, to tons of steel.  They have refrigerated trailers to accommodate perishables, including produce and medicine, and can even safely transport hazardous biological or chemical materials.  For larger shipments, they can pull more than one trailer; but this may significantly slow them down, especially over mountainous terrain.

Furthermore, while they can also carry extra-wide loads, this usually requires escort vehicles, such as flag cars, or pilot cars.  In addition, permits are needed for their excessive sizes and weights.  These fees, along with the increased fuel consumption by the trucks and their complementary vehicles, raise costs overall.

Of course, because they can travel on most roads, trucks can go practically everywhere.  Still, this also subjects them to delays caused by construction, accidents, and bad weather; and they’re more likely to be involved in traffic mishaps.

Trains, in contrast, have better safety records, and can manage much more cargo.  Moreover, they offer a greater variety of open and closed cars, and are well-equipped for items that require any type of special handling.

As they follow fixed, exclusive courses, they have more dependable timetables.  This makes it easier to schedule train shipments farther in advance, and to more reliably budget for shipping expenses.  Nevertheless, trains don’t have the same access to loading areas as do trucks.  Therefore, trucks are often needed to move the freight onto and off trains, and to deliver the goods to their final destinations.

So, there’s no doubt that the railroad and trucking industries are inextricably linked, and are even dependent upon each other.  What’s more, choosing the better of the two can often be difficult.  Naturally, though, if you’re located in an industrial park that makes one mode more convenient than the other, your decision will be a lot easier.

In the Pittsburgh area, Value Properties at the Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center offers direct access to rail service, and several other amenities.  For more information, call Gene or Debi, at 724-266-4661, or visit

Ambridge Regional Center
2301 Duss Avenue, Suite 1
Ambridge, PA 15003

Phone: (724) 266-4661
Toll Free: (800) 371-5606
Fax: (724) 266-7311

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Our space is very nice, and the entire complex is extremely well-organized and maintained, which makes a good impression on our customers when they come for pick-ups. Management is also very attentive to our needs at all times.

Hiram Ball

Owner, Ball Consulting, Ltd