Advancing Technology Improves Freight Movement Efficiency

Since COVID hit, you may have been pleasantly surprised to see how fast a product ordered through the internet can arrive at your doorstep. Why is that? What’s changed?

The fact is that thanks to a rapidly improving set of internet based, sophisticated computer-control measures, suppliers, forwarders, shippers, and distribution companies are adopting much better ways of keeping track of freight shipments than in the past. One of the benefits of a fast, responsive and efficient internal control system is that rather than having to ship everything from the factory or some other central location, suppliers can now set up and use more local and regional storage centers located closer to demand centers without losing track of their products. This can now be accomplished by sophisticated data analysis used to convert demographic trends, consumption records and advertising “hits” to input data suitable for entry into computer models capable of more closely monitoring freight shipping and storage.

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As this process gradually gets more reliable and comprehensive its use will probably intensify. Such improvements will be of significant benefit because having products available in warehouses close to demand centers speeds up deliveries and cuts shipping costs. Train, truck and cargo ship travel, although slower, is considerably less expensive than air freight.

In the Bay Area things may be looking up on this front. According to the Bay Council, in order to allow for a “one seat ride” from Sacramento and beyond to San Francisco and the Peninsula, there is talk of using the standard 4 foot 8 ½ inch track gauge in the planned second rail tube between Oakland and San Francisco rather than BART’s unique 5 foot 6 inch gauge. Another potential advantage of using standard gauge track is that it could allow freight rail operators to share the space under the Bay with long-distance passenger trains. (More freight movement by rail and less by truck would reduce both truck-caused highway backups and serious traffic accidents involving large trucks)…


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