Grain Industry Dynamics & Rail Service

TITLE(S): Analytical Models of Rail Service Operations; Trends in Grain and Soybean Economics; Econometric Analysis of Rail Transport Rates
RELEASED: August 2016
BY: Northwestern University Transportation Center


The logistics of grain production and distribution, especially in the North American western regions, has undergone significant restructuring driven by the desire to achieve economies of scale and reach export points to foreign markets where prices are at historically attractive levels. This has created important needs from a transport standpoint: (1) capacity to move larger loads from the production region to the main export ports, and (2) lower transit times from origin to destination to minimize the time that the grain stocks are tied in transit, to get them to market as soon as possible.

Within this context, the Northwestern University Transportation Center investigated grain industry dynamics in relation to rail service in the Upper Midwestern United States, and produced three research reports: