Agriculture and Food: U.S. Grain Transportation Network Needs System Perspective To Meet Future World Needs - GAO Report
|Date:||April 8, 1981|
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Grain and grain products
Railroad transportation operations
GAO examined the grain transportation system. It identified actual and potential bottlenecks, explained their significance, and explored the status of activities addressing them. The grain transportation system in the United States is complex and interrelated and involves railroads, waterways, roads, and ports. Changes and events in one area affect all others, straining their ability to perform efficiently.
Efforts to improve grain transportation tend to concentrate on individual transportation modes rather than on the transportation network as a whole. An integrated analysis that considers interrelationships between the various components of the grain transportation system has yet to be conducted. An analysis is needed of overall system constraints, interactions, and solutions to prepare for the export industry. Several problems threaten the ability of the grain transportation system to meet future demand: (1) the widely held notion of railcar shortages is symptomatic of a more serious problem, inefficient use of railcars; (2) the proportion of grain moved by truck has increased; (3) waterborne shipments continue to exceed forecasts, and there is widespread concern that the growth of grain exports could be limited by lock and dam constraints; and (4) each major grain exporting port GAO visited was hampered by problems of congestion and inefficiency.