Freight Rail a Gateway to U.S. and Global Markets for Mount Rushmore State
For South Dakota grain, ethanol and other agricultural producers, freight rail provides the primary means of reaching export markets around the nation and across the globe. With demand for rail transportation only expected to increase, record railroad investments in track, equipment and technology are good news for South Dakota agriculture.
South Dakota’s 11 freight railroads operate over 1,736 miles of track and employ 869 in the Mount Rushmore State.* It would have taken approximately 9.6 million additional truckloads to move the 172.4 million tons of freight that moved by rail in South Dakota in 2014. Farm products and chemicals make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in South Dakota. Chemicals and coal are the largest rail imports to the state.
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in rail rates, 1981-2014.
That means the average rail customer today can ship nearly twice as much freight for about the same price it paid more than 30 years ago.
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