The Internet was searched for truck, rail, and barge costs data related to chemical shipments in the United States.
Data was found that suggests that approximately $46 billion was spent by chemical companies in the US to ship their products in 2013. This represents a shipping cost to revenue ratio of about 6% (total chemical sales in 2013 believed to be about $812 billion). Reducing this ratio by 1% could save approximately $5 billion.
Data found suggests that the cost per ton mile for shipping by truck in 2013 was in the $0.30 to $0.35 range. And, shipping by rail was in the $0.06 to $0.07 range. Assuming this data is approximately correct, truck shipments were about 5 times more expensive than rail shipments in 2013.
Although truck shipments were more expensive, 2013 data suggests that about 68% of all chemical shipments were by truck, 22% by rail, and most of the rest by barge. Truck shipping allows for greater flexibility, smaller shipments, and more on-time deliveries.