Railroad scoring carbon vs. trucking

Norfolk Southern Corp. recently announced it has enhanced its online Green Machine carbon footprint “analyzer,” which lets shippers calculate the environmental impacts of moving freight by rail or truck

Norfolk Southern Corp. recently announced it has enhanced its online Green Machine carbon footprint “analyzer,” which lets shippers calculate the environmental impacts of moving freight by rail or truck.

The analyzer now features a carbon offset calculator to compute the estimated monetary value of reducing carbon emissions by switching freight from truck to rail.

Shippers can enter a move’s freight tonnage and length of haul and the calculator will determine the value based on carbon offsets’ current market price.

When it comes to determining greener modes of freight transportation, however, much depends on how and what is being measured. For example, Noel Perry, a principal with Transport Fundamentals, Inc. and a speaker on a recent webcast presented by FTR, pointed out that rail contributes many, many times more NOx emissions than trucking does. This is due to the tougher NOx regulations currently governing trucks.

If nothing else, the new calculator from Norfolk Southern serves as a reminder that capping and trading carbon is more than a future legislative possibility-- it is already a factor in at least some freight transportation decisions.

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