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,
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.