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Procurement Market Intelligence Report

Rail Cargo Transportation Services
Sourcing Guide & Market Trends

Comprehensive intelligence for making smart purchasing decisions

Learn about actual and potential costs

How much should I pay for Rail Cargo Transportation Services?

What is the average price of Rail Cargo Transportation Services?

This procurement report includes pricing information to help you purchase Rail Cargo Transportation Services. Our analysts provide a benchmark price and a price range based on key pricing factors to help you understand what you should be paying for this specific product or service. To see the average price for this and hundreds of other products and services, subscribe to ProcurementIQ.

Has the price of Rail Cargo Transportation Services been rising or falling?

Analysts look at market data from the previous three years to determine an overall price trend. You can use the recent price trends to help you understand price volatility and plan your budget.

I’m not ready to purchase Rail Cargo Transportation Services yet. Will I pay more if I wait too long?

We forecast the next three years of price movements by looking at factors likely to affect the market's supply chain, such as inputs, demand and competition. You can then use the price forecast to figure out the best time to purchase.

What other costs are associated with purchasing Rail Cargo Transportation Services?

Our analysts calculate the total cost of ownership and assign a level of low, moderate or high, depending on things like customization, integration and installation. Use this information to budget for Rail Cargo Transportation Services with a reduced risk of unexpected costs.

See how we display average pricing information, trends and market data.

Find the vendor to meet your needs

Where can I purchase ?

Market share concentration is high among freight railroads. About 600 Class 1, 2 and 3 carriers serve this market. The vast majority of carriers are Class 2 or 3. However, about 68.0% of freight rail mileage occurs between distant cities served by Class 1 railroads, according to the Association of... Subscribe to learn more.

Questions to ask potential suppliers

How can I gain leverage during negotiations?

Customer Service

What is the position and degree of authority of the person managing my shipments? Will they be able to respond to inquiries at any time by phone and can they make immediate decisions regarding my shipment?

Is your company flexible with regard to accepting cargo at short notice, shipping cargo to unusual destinations and changing destinations en route? Will you provide more flexibility with the terms of our contract given the coronavirus's negative impact on the global supply chain and businesses' financial stability worldwide?

How do I receive real-time updates on my cargo's location?

Will I be notified immediately of any damage or loss regarding my shipment?


What savings will my company achieve under a multiyear contract?

What incentives can you provide to switch to rail if some of my product is currently shipped by truck?

How will increasing my volume and bundling routes reduce my rates?

How can my company aid your railroad in its marketing and operational goals? Can you incentivize this through rate reductions?

Will you reduce your rates alongside lower fuel costs?

Operating Philosophy

What trade organizations or programs do you participate in?

What developmental training opportunities are available for management and operational employees?

How is your fleet evolving in terms of fuel efficiency?

Do you expect to increase your use of non-diesel fuels over the next few years?

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Key elements for every RFP

What should my RFP include?

Project Budget

Buyers should provide a maximum budget for the contract, if applicable.

Buyers should request the vendor’s current base rate and fuel surcharge.

Buyers should ask for a breakdown of all additional fees for which they will be responsible, including but not limited to insurance, switching, unloading and storage fees.

Selection Criteria

Buyers should prioritize vendors that offer services over the required routes.

Buyers should give preference to vendors with adequate capacity to meet their shipping needs.

Buyers should consider the vendor’s experience handling similar cargo when evaluating potential suppliers.

Buyers should weigh a vendor’s safety record and on-time statistics.

Buyers should consider the vendor’s ability to offer competitive prices.

Buyers should reference the Buying-Decision Scorecard section of this report for key criteria to consider when evaluating providers.

Project Schedule

Buyers should specify the period for submitting questions and the deadline for submitting proposals.

Buyers should indicate the date by which award information will be made available.

Buyers should state their desired start date for services.

Evaluate major factors to mitigate risk

How risky is the supply chain?

The supply chain for rail cargo transportation services has an overall moderate degree of risk. Upstream risk is moderate due primarily to volatility in steel prices and periodic shortages in certain types of railcars (e.g. rail tank car manufacturers currently have a backlog of about 12 months). Additionally, diesel fuel... Subscribe to learn more.