Note: Modes are not to scale.
Performance Comparison for Selected Freight Modes
Because of their operational characteristics, several freight transportation modes have different capacities and levels of efficiency. While the truck is certainly the mode which has the least capacity, it has a level of flexibility (speed and door-to-door services) unmatched by rail, maritime and fluvial transportation. Intermodal capacity in TEU for trains and trucks depends on the type of container being carried with a 53 foot container the equivalent of 2.65 TEU. The capacity of air cargo transportation is more complex to assess since about 50% of the global air cargo is carried inside the bellyhold of standard passenger planes. For instance, a 747 passenger plane can carry 8 to 12 metric tons in its bellyhold. A dedicated 747 freight can carry 100 metric tons or more depending on the freight density and range.