United States Rail Freight Transport Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024 - 2029)

The United States Rail Freight Transport Market is segmented by Type of Cargo (Containerized (Includes Intermodal), Non-containerized, Liquid Bulk), By Destination (Domestic, International), and By Service Type (Transportation, Services Allied to Transportation (Maintenance of Railcars and Rail Tracks, Switching of Cargo, and Storage)). The report offers market sizes and forecasts in value (USD billion) for all the above segments.

US Rail Freight Transport Market Size

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United States Rail Freight Transport Market Summary
Study Period 2020 - 2029
Base Year For Estimation 2023
Forecast Data Period 2024 - 2029
Historical Data Period 2020 - 2022
CAGR < 5.00 %
Market Concentration Medium

Major Players

United States Rail Freight Transport Market Major Players

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

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US Rail Freight Transport Market Analysis

The size of United States Rail Freight Transport Market is USD 69.1 billion in the current year and is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 9% during the forecast period.

  • The Association of American Railroads estimates that the U.S. freight rail network runs approximately 140,000 miles of privately owned track in all states but Hawaii. It transports one-third of all exports from the United States and around 40% of all long-distance freight.
  • As consumer spending and trade levels grow due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, freight volumes and demand for rail transportation are expected to rise. Therefore, consumer and industry demand for products will rise, driving up industrial output levels.
  • The demand for such high-speed, fuel-efficient services will increase, which will benefit operators in the rail transportation sector. North America's most significant market was the United States, where Class I railways often ranked among the top providers of freight transportation services.
  • Based on freight revenue, BNSF Railway, Union Pacific Corporation, CSX Corporation, and Norfolk Southern were consistently ranked among the top 20 worldwide freight firms in 2020. By mid-2021, Class I railways had surpassed railroads in the Asia-Pacific area as some of the biggest railroad firms in the world.
  • North American freight railways begun to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic's harmful effects by 2021. Union Pacific's economic performance in 2021 was restored to pre-pandemic levels with freight revenue of about USD 20.2 billion. Other Class I railways also saw a comparable rise.
  • In December 2021, Canadian Pacific finalized the acquisition of competitor Class I railroad Kansas City Southern to maintain its competitiveness in the area. The company was projected to expand operations throughout the three major nations in the area as a result of the merger, with the United States expected to account for about half of the company's revenue.

US Rail Freight Transport Market Trends

This section covers the major market trends shaping the US Rail Freight Transport Market according to our research experts:

Demand on The US Freight Rail Network Increase

The market for freight rail transportation is expected to increase by as much as 30% to 40% by 2050, and the United States now boasts the largest and most lucrative freight railway network in the world. The US consumer demand alone, which has been increasing since the summer of 2021, is predicted by economists and experts to increase by between 30% and 40% over the following few decades, fueling the need for land-based transportation of commodities. In addition, while the US's freight rail efficiency is far superior to that of the rest of the world, it trails behind the rest of the world in terms of passenger trains. About 40% of the nation's long-distance freight is transported via the nation's 140 000 miles of rail lines. While trains are increasingly delivering consumer products as the e-commerce boom continues, freight rail competes directly with trucking to move automobiles, coal, and chemical cargo. There are seven significant freight rail networks in the US, and the top five companies reported a combined operating revenue.

United States Rail Freight Transport Market - U.S. Domestic Rail Freight Transportation Commodities:

Low Cost of Transporation and Modal Shift Drive The Market

Rail freight transport is more affordable and effective than other modes of transportation because it enables the delivery of more cargo over greater distances. Rail transport is believed to be six to seven times more effective than driving, with pollution reductions of 30% to 80%. Additionally, the cost of train travel is just 10% more expensive than that of vehicle travel. These factors affect the decision of governments to use rail freight transportation. Companies that use rail for freight transportation continually invest to reduce costs for customers. For instance, a strong increase in tonnage per train during the previous ten years has allowed them to deliver more freight. Since the lower interest rates for the money that is being held up partly balance the higher transportation costs, rail freight is a relatively affordable shipping alternative. Train transportation costs are less costly. The cost of rail transit is about one-tenth that of driving a car, and it consumes only a quarter of the quantity of petroleum that driving a car does.

United States Rail Freight Transport Market- Value of Domestic Rail Freight Commodities Trade Flows

US Rail Freight Transport Industry Overview

The rail freight transport market is moderately consolidated in nature, with a mix of global and local players. According to industry sources, the rail industry has been facing huge competition from its similar service providers, road and air transporters, since the last decade. The united states are heavily investing in railroad infrastructural developments. There are some major freight railroads that connect North America. Union Pacific and BNSF dominate the west. CSX and Norfolk Southern are the primary east coast operators, while Kansas City Southern, along with Canadian Pacific and Canadian National run routes north and south. Amtrak, which is the United State's passenger service, owns only 3% of the country's rail.

US Rail Freight Transport Market Leaders

  1. Union American

  2. BNSF Railway

  3. CSX

  4. Norfolk Southern Corp.

  5. Genesee & Wyoming Inc.

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

United States Rail Freight Transport Market Concentration
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US Rail Freight Transport Market News

  • January 2022 - Wabtec Corporation has received an order for 10 FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives from Union Pacific Railroad, a freight-hauling railroad in the US. The action will promote Union Pacific's efforts to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations while also upgrading the infrastructure of its train yards. Seven thousand battery cells will be used in each FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive. The US will be the exclusive producer of all the vehicles. The 10 battery-powered locomotives will be able to offset 4,000t of carbon emissions from Union Pacific's train yards each year when used together. Union Pacific is expected to receive the first units from Wabtec in late 2023.
  • February 2022 - In order to promote the expansion of the companies of their clients who sell consumer, agricultural, and industrial products, BSNF has announced that USD 580 million of this year's (2022) capital plan would go toward efficiency and expansion initiatives. BNSF will continue a multi-year project to add multiple segments of new double-track in eastern Kansas and start a multi-year project to add a new segment of triple-track in California on its Southern Transcon route, which runs between Southern California and the Midwest. Both projects will support traffic growth. In order to boost train capacity in the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will also continue a multi-year bridge project close to Sandpoint, Idaho. In addition, BNSF will start or continue multi-year intermodal facility expansion projects in Chicago and North Texas (Alliance). BNSF is launching several initiatives in San Bernardino, Southern California, to increase the effectiveness of its intermodal complex. The capital budget for this year includes USD 259 million for the purchase of freight cars and other equipment.

US Rail Freight Transport Market Report - Table of Contents

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION

    1. 1.1 Study Deliverables

    2. 1.2 Study Assumptions

    3. 1.3 Scope of the Study

  2. 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  4. 4. MARKET INSIGHTS & DYNAMICS

    1. 4.1 Current Market Scenario

    2. 4.2 Market Dynamics

      1. 4.2.1 Market Drivers

      2. 4.2.2 Restraints

      3. 4.2.3 Opportunities

    3. 4.3 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.3.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.3.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.3.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.3.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.3.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

    4. 4.4 Technological Trends

    5. 4.5 Government Regulations and Initiatives

    6. 4.6 Insights into Transport Corridors in Key Location

    7. 4.7 Spotlight on the Effects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

    8. 4.8 Review and Commentary on the Freight Transportation Costs by Rail

    9. 4.9 Elaboration on Key Trade Agreements Related to Rail

    10. 4.10 Insights into Key End Users of the Rail Freight Sector

    11. 4.11 Impact of COVID-19 on the Market (Short-term and Long-term Impact on the Market and the Economy)

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION

    1. 5.1 By Type of Cargo

      1. 5.1.1 Containerized (Includes Intermodal)

      2. 5.1.2 Non-containerized

      3. 5.1.3 Liquid Bulk

    2. 5.2 By Destination

      1. 5.2.1 Domestic

      2. 5.2.2 International

    3. 5.3 By Service Type

      1. 5.3.1 Transportation

      2. 5.3.2 Services Allied to Transportation (Maintenance of Railcars and Rail Tracks, Switching of Cargo, and Storage)

  6. 6. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

    1. 6.1 Market Concentration Overview

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 Union Pacific Railroad

      2. 6.2.2 BNSF Railway Company

      3. 6.2.3 CSX Transportation

      4. 6.2.4 Norfolk Southern Railway

      5. 6.2.5 Genesee & Wyoming Inc

      6. 6.2.6 Canadian National Railway

      7. 6.2.7 Patriot Rail Company

      8. 6.2.8 Kansas City Southern*

    3. *List Not Exhaustive
  7. 7. FUTURE OF THE MARKET & GROWTH STRATEGIES

  8. 8. APPENDIX

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US Rail Freight Transport Industry Segmentation

Rail freight transport is the usage of railroads and trains to transport cargo on land. It can be used for transporting various kinds of goods or some of the way between the shipper and the intended destination.

The United States Rail Freight Transport Market is segmented by Type Of Cargo (Containerized (Includes Intermodal), Non-containerized, Liquid Bulk), By Destination(Domestic, International), and By Service Type(Transportation, Services Allied to Transportation (Maintenance of Railcars and Rail Tracks, Switching of Cargo, and Storage)). The report offers market size and forecasts for the US Rail Freight Transport market in value (USD billion) for all the above segments. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also covered in the report.

By Type of Cargo
Containerized (Includes Intermodal)
Non-containerized
Liquid Bulk
By Destination
Domestic
International
By Service Type
Transportation
Services Allied to Transportation (Maintenance of Railcars and Rail Tracks, Switching of Cargo, and Storage)
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US Rail Freight Transport Market Research FAQs

The United States Rail Freight Transport Market is projected to register a CAGR of less than 5% during the forecast period (2024-2029)

Union American, BNSF Railway, CSX, Norfolk Southern Corp. and Genesee & Wyoming Inc. are the major companies operating in the United States Rail Freight Transport Market.

The report covers the United States Rail Freight Transport Market historical market size for years: 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. The report also forecasts the United States Rail Freight Transport Market size for years: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2029.

United States Rail Freight Transport Industry Report

Statistics for the 2024 United States Rail Freight Transport market share, size and revenue growth rate, created by Mordor Intelligence™ Industry Reports. United States Rail Freight Transport analysis includes a market forecast outlook to 2029 and historical overview. Get a sample of this industry analysis as a free report PDF download.

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United States Rail Freight Transport Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024 - 2029)