Thursday, February 07, 2013

McKinstry: Cold Train shrinks carbon footprint

Seattle-based energy and facility services firm McKinstry released a carbon analysis study confirming that the Cold Train refrigerated express intermodal service to/from the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal produces a smaller carbon footprint than shipping by long-haul truck to/from Quincy, Wash. The report validates a previous estimation of carbon emissions reported by BNSF's Carbon Estimator Tool.

To assist the Port of Quincy and various shippers and receivers in responding to requests from customers, government agencies, interested stakeholders and organizations about the carbon emissions benefits of shipping by intermodal rail, McKinstry verified that carbon emissions calculations in shipping from/to from the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal are authentic and accurate.

For example, McKinstry verified through BNSF's Carbon Estimator Tool that shipping a container on the Cold Train from Washington state to Chicago or from Chicago to Washington sState reduces the shipment's carbon footprint by 52% versus a long-haul truck.

"Having worked in the Quincy community, McKinstry is keenly aware of its unique position to help validate and substantiate a 'green' intermodal rail solution via the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal for shipping valuable commodities across the United States," said Peter Locke, director of sustainability consulting services for McKinstry.

Data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders Program and the World Resources Institute state that freight delivered by rail has a lower carbon impact as compared to long-haul truck transportation, with anywhere from three to four times improvement in fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. Also, when compared to other rail delivery methods for the transportation of fresh produce and other perishable agricultural products, the intermodal solution is by far the most efficient.

The Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal is located in central Washington on a key cross-country rail mainline (Seattle-Chicago line) and is one of the few stops that the BNSF Intermodal Z Train makes to/from Chicago. In the past few years, usage and business at the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal has increased dramatically. In April of 2010, the Cold Train Express Intermodal Service was launched in partnership with the Port of Quincy with BNSF. Since the Cold Train service began, it has rapidly grown in popularity with fresh produce and frozen food shippers and shipments on the Cold Train between Washington state/Oregon and the Midwest/East Coast have risen several hundred percent and continue to climb.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the express intermodal service from/to the Port of Quincy features specially designed containers that can be quickly moved from short-haul trucks to long-haul intermodal rail and back to short-haul trucks for efficient transport and delivery and very little handling.