Differences in Road and Rail Transport

The industry in the peninsula shares that road and rail transport usually meet at some point because they are terrestrial, but in Spain it is reflected, according to the latest studies, that in recent years there is a clear predominance of road transport over rail transport.

Rail transport has always been more successful when it comes to transporting people, but when it comes to transporting goods, the trend is shifting to road transport.

Road transport is considered the predominant form of freight transport due to its advantages over rail transport.

Characteristics of inland rail freight transport


Rail transport allows a very high volume of goods to be transported when the route is very long, i.e. the costs of each operation are reduced and these fixed costs are distributed among a larger volume of goods.

It allows the transport of a wide range of goods on the same route, resulting in a lower incidence of accidents, since the trains have numerous safety measures. They also produce low pollution and avoid traffic congestion problems that do occur on highways and offer the alternative of intermodal coordination with other means of transportation.


The capacity of this service depends on the existing infrastructure, which does not cover all locations. This limits its reach, and in many situations, road transport is required to reach uncovered areas.

International rail transport also has limitations due to the track gauge in Spain, which differs from that used in the rest of Europe, requiring transshipment when the destination is in Europe.

In some cases, it is not possible to deliver the goods to their final destination, such as warehouses or other delivery locations, and road transport support is needed to complete the journey.

The need for transshipments can increase operating costs, generally resulting in a higher cost per operation.

In summary, rail land transport often requires constant or near-constant support from road transport.

Characteristics of inland transportation of goods by road


The cost of this means of transport is one of the most economical, since it is one of the most flexible when transporting any type of goods, including dangerous goods, complying with the requirements and documentation required by law.

It is the most direct form of transportation, precisely because of the enormous road infrastructure that exists, since you can reach any point in the country, nationally and even internationally.

It is the most recommended way to make groupage and share loads with other companies so that the trip is more economical than hiring a full load, but in the case of doing so, the trip would be exclusive for the client.


As one of the most used modes of transport, the accident rate is higher than in other modes.

There may be problems of traffic congestion, which slows down delivery times, although with the modernization of routing systems, real-time alternatives can be sought to avoid these unforeseen events. to avoid these unforeseen events.

It is one of the most polluting means of transport, but a solution is being sought with eco-friendly measures for efficient and environmentally friendly driving for greater driver comfort and a positive effect on sustainable business.

The volume of cargo that fits on a truck is smaller than what a train can hold.

The European panorama and the new challenges for land freight transport in Spain

Undoubtedly, in Spain we still have some unresolved issues to resolve in land freight transport.

According to statistical data from recent years, in the rest of Europe, rail freight accounts for 15% to 18% of total land transport. Factors such as the extensive rail infrastructure network are probably one of the main arguments for understanding this figure.

The important thing is to try to take advantage of the synergies that can be found between both modes of transportation and even intermodality, constituting. Precisely for this reason, it is a good option to cover large stages of the journey that end with road transport to the final destination.

The road transport industry in the Iberian Peninsula

In the transportation industry in Spain, road transport has been more widely used than railways in recent years. This is because road transport is more flexible and reaches more places compared to railways. However, railways have the advantage of being able to transport large quantities of goods at a lower cost per unit, making them attractive for long-distance shipments.

Despite these differences, both types of transport are often needed, as railways do not reach all destinations. To bridge this gap, road transport is used to take the goods from the train station to the final destination. This combination of rail and road transport can help leverage the strengths of both methods and minimize their weaknesses

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