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APM Terminals: Rail freight on track for record volumes

Posted on August 9, 2023

Rail is acknowledged as the most fuel-efficient way to move freight over land, with a gallon of fuel stretching an average of 500 miles, according to the Association of American Railroads ( In July this year the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) endorsed the push for freight railroads, stating that the transport mode can play a key role in the solution to climate change

That assessment is something that APM Terminals has been fully on board with for some time. We’re committed to raising the standards of responsibility by offering low or zero carbon solutions for customers and consumers through our decarbonisation efforts and increasing rail transport options.

Record loads in India

Take for example APM Terminals Pipavav, which has taken nearly 50,000 containers off the road to substantially reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Just last month the port handled 206 trains – the highest number this year so far, pulling significantly ahead of its previous loading record of 157 double stack trains in a month in 2020.

Carbon-conscious in the US

Pipavav is not an exception. A few months ago, our operations in Mobile Alabama announced a bumper $60 million rail expansion in response to demand from increasingly carbon-conscious customers.

According to EPA data, freight railroads account for just 0.5% of total US emissions and only 1.7% of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Added to this, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) states: “Moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers GHG emissions by up to 75%, on average”.

Sustainability with speed

The benefits of rail extend even beyond important net zero targets, as APM Terminals Americas Head, Leo Huisman acknowledges: “Our customers are looking for expanded options for their supply chains so we are focusing on faster connections to rail providers into inland markets.” The APM Terminals Mobile rail facility will therefore enable faster rail loading and departures.

Eyes trained on the future

Customer demand for sustainable and fast transport in the US and India is mirrored in Europe, where our colleague Homam Mansour is keeping his sights on the future of intermodal transport in his role as Rail Planner in our Gothenburg terminal, Sweden. Under his watch, Gothenburg has set an ambition to never refuse extra trains. Says Mansour: “We kept this promise throughout 2022, receiving and handling 84 extra trains requested by our customers at short notice”.

The commitment to rail has seen the volume of containers transported by rail via APM Terminals Gothenburg increase by 13% this year compared to 2021. More than 55% of all goods now reach the port by rail.

At APM Terminals globally, we train our sights on customer-focused, environment-friendly, and speedy supply chain solutions, and those priorities will continue to gain momentum.


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