Key Takeaways: 

  • Railroads haul paper and pulp products, which are turned into popular solutions to life’s daily challenges such as construction paper, napkins, grocery paper bags and wallboard.
  • In 2016, U.S. Class I railroads terminated more than 808,000 carloads of paper and pulp products (2.7% of total carloads), carrying 38.4 million tons (2.3% of total tons) and earning gross revenue of 2.2 billion (3.4% of total revenue).

From the southeast thicket of Georgia to the northwest forests of Oregon, freight rail moves American paper and pulp products that protect our food, keep us safe and enable e-commerce.

Because of their size, weight, and diversity, trains are the ideal solution for getting pulp and paper products to market. Pulp is a fibrous material most commonly prepared from wood, cotton and grasses and process to make paper, food packaging, cardboard and other plant-based products like sponges and bandages. Believe it or not, pulp is also used in the production of LCD screens and automobile tires.

Freight railroads have adapted to meet the changing needs of the American people; newsprint for newspapers now makes way for cardboard for e-commerce shipping. In fact, one of the most common uses for paper is paper-based packaging and boxes, which enable the nation’s emerging e-commerce market. Sturdy, lightweight, and customizable, paper-based packaging is a versatile and cost-effective way to transport, protect and preserve a wide variety of consumer goods.

Paper products are essential to our society as a renewable, recyclable and sustainable commodity. Every day U.S. paper-manufacturers recycle enough paper to fill fifteen trains of boxcars a mile long.