Shipping Comparisons

Cargo Capacity of Different Transportation Modes

Comparison of the cargo capacities of a barge, rail car, train, and semi truck (adapted from Iowa Department of Transportation)

Mode of TransportationTons of CargoBushels of CargoGallons of Cargo
One Barge1,500 tons52,500 bushels453,600 gallons
One Rail Car100 tons3,500 bushels30,240 gallons
100-Car Train Unit10,000 tons350,000 bushels3,024,000 gallons
Large Semi26 tons910 bushels7,865 gallons

Safety of Shipping Methods

Comparison of the safety records of barge, train, and semi truck per billion ton-miles
(Source: C. Jake Haulk Ph.D. – Inland Waterways as Vital National Infrastructure: Refuting “Corporate Welfare” Attacks)

Mode of TransportationDeaths Per Billion Ton-MilesInjuries Per Billion Ton-Miles

Energy Efficiency of Shipping Methods

Number of miles one ton can be carried per gallon of fuel (Adapted from U.S. DOT Maritime Administration)

Mode of TransportationNumber of Miles/Gallon Carrying One Ton of Cargo
Barge514 miles/gallon
Train202 miles/gallon
Trucking59 miles/gallon

Environmental Quality of Shipping Methods

Comparison of the emissions of different gases into the atmosphere from different shipping methods
(adapted from Haulk)

Mode of TransportationHydrocarbons Emitted
Carbon Monoxide Emitted
Nitrous Oxide Emitted