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Shipping a On-Dock Rail

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. On-Dock Rail Transport Services
  2. Cost Shipping Factors for On-Dock Rail Shipping
  3. Distance
  4. Transportation Speed
  5. Weight
  6. Types of Heavy Equipment Being Shipped
  7. What to Look for in a Heavy Equipment Shipping Company
  8. Relevant Statistics
  9. General Facts
  10. Preparing for On-Dock Rail Shipping
  11. Best Practices for Shipping On-Dock Rail Shipping
  12. Get In Touch with A-1 for On-Dock Rail Shipping
Shipping a On-Dock Rail

On-Dock Rail Transport Services

On-dock is a term used in the shipping industry to describe the transportation of freight containers directly from a port to an inland destination using rail systems. This movement of containers offers a more efficient and cost-effective way to move goods compared to traditional trucking methods. It is particularly beneficial for long-distance transport and bulk commodities, making it a critical component of the supply chain.

On-dock rail services and transportation are usually handled by shippers at container terminals, where efficient machinery is used to load and unload containers. This system is particularly useful for freight movement and distribution to destinations across the country, including from Los Angeles to Mexico.

Rail cars used in an on dock rail facility e.g. the San Pedro Bay Ports
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Cost Shipping Factors for On-Dock Rail Shipping

The cost of on-dock rail transportation depends on various factors such as the route, vehicle type, distance, and time taken to transport the goods. Generally, the on-dock rail service transportation cost ranges from $1.00 to $5.00 per mile.

To determine the delivery cost of equipment, we need to consider several factors. The final estimated cost depends on the urgency of the delivery, the weight of the heavy equipment, and the type of heavy equipment being moved.


The distance between customers and on-dock rail facilities plays a crucial role in determining shipping costs. If there's an efficient on-dock rail system, the shipment's origin or destination closer to the rail facilities will mean lower shipping costs. Proximity to railroads and intermodal connections has a significant impact on logistics expenses, as shorter distances require less fuel and less time for cargo transport. Areas close to well-connected rail facilities in the United States enjoy cost advantages in their supply chain operations. Streamlined connections between warehouses and rail hubs make transportation more efficient, benefiting both businesses and consumers by reducing overall shipping expenses.

Transportation Speed

You might be able to negotiate a better price if you know how fast you need your heavy equipment delivered. However, if you need it sooner, the price will be higher. Depending on when you book, you are likely to pay the standard price, or even less if you are able to wait. In order to make sure that your package is delivered on time, it will require additional time and resources on the part of the organization.


The transport costs at on-dock facilities are directly affected by the weight and type of your equipment, including cranes, tracks, and containers. Exporting heavier, bulkier equipment typically incurs higher costs than exporting lighter, smaller equipment. This is especially true when considering the types of equipment used at container terminals.

Types of Heavy Equipment Being Shipped

When searching for a heavy equipment shipping company, it's important to ensure they have a well-equipped facility for handling heavy equipment and if they have loading and unloading capabilities that can accommodate the size of your equipment. Also, check the availability of trucks and container terminals, as well as a rail facility if needed. The availability of rail cars can make a huge difference in transport time and cost, especially if you're dealing with congestion in certain areas.

Moreover, you should consider a company's storage capacity, both in the warehouse and during transit. This is essential if you're dealing with the import or export of products that require proper handling and storage. In addition, check if they have the expertise and specialization in handling heavy equipment, as well as the necessary customs documentation and tracking to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

What to Look for in a Heavy Equipment Shipping Company

A variety of companies may ship your heavy equipment. It will depend on your particular needs which company will be best for you. Obviously, there is a method to selecting a shipping firm that meets your requirements when it comes to choosing a shipping company.

It is very important that you check that the company you are dealing with is licensed for shipping. Transportation companies are regulated and licensed by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Make sure that you are thoroughly examining the firm you have chosen. If the search is done correctly, all vital information will be returned, including the customer reviews. It will give you some weight to your impression of the firm you wish to work for when you do this.

Relevant Statistics

  • On-dock rail shipping reduces carbon emissions by 25% compared to traditional truck transportation.
  • Over 90% of containers shipped through on-dock rail reach their destination on time.
  • Implementing on-dock rail systems can lower transportation costs by up to 15%.
  • On-dock rail terminals can handle up to 500 trains per month, increasing shipping capacity by 40%.
  • Approximately 75% of major ports worldwide have integrated on-dock rail systems to improve efficiency and reduce congestion.

General Facts

  • On-dock rail refers to the transportation of cargo directly from a port to an inland destination using rail systems.
  • It offers a more efficient and cost-effective way to move goods compared to traditional trucking methods.
  • On-dock rail reduces congestion on highways and decreases carbon emissions by minimizing truck transportation.
  • This shipping method is particularly beneficial for long-distance transport and bulk commodities.
  • Major ports around the world are increasingly investing in on-dock rail infrastructure to enhance their logistics capabilities.

Preparing for On-Dock Rail Shipping

  • Your transport agency may need to hire equipment depending on the items you need to move. You might be able to obtain a specialty service from your transportation agency.
  • Make sure the battery is disconnected before transporting it to ensure its health.
  • Make sure that all equipment is clean and in excellent working condition before moving it. If a mechanic is required, take it to him first.
Ocean carriers near dock rail yards in Southern California

Best Practices for Shipping On-Dock Rail Shipping

  • Establish seamless connections between container terminals and rail yards for efficient transition.
  • Utilize dedicated trains or form unit trains to streamline the shipping process.
  • Request rail service directly from the on-dock rail terminal for greater control over shipments.
  • Consider insurance options to mitigate potential risks during transit.
  • Implementing these best practices enhances the shipping experience, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability.

Get In Touch with A-1 for On-Dock Rail Shipping

We can provide support if you need it. The equipment can be delivered to the desired location. On our website, you can find information, or you can call 1-888-230-6512.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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