Freight Tracks issue #10

Page 22

Rail freight in 2032

View from the C-Suite Dennis Wilmot, President & CEO, Iron Horse Logistics Group, Ohio, USA


/ What is the likelihood of driverless freight trains in 2032 on the major freight lines?

I think there will be some autonomous trains but do believe most rail traffic will still be hauled by crewed engines.


‘Modal-shift’ is a big talking point in 2022. What will we be saying about it in ten years?

I’m not sure this is new. Truck, rail, Intermodal, have always been fighting for market share from each other. In 10 years they will still be positioning themselves for it. This assume we maintain some level of a capitalist economy that allows competition to drive innovation.


/ There are female CEOs in rail freight at present. What will the percentage of female CEOs likely be in ten years time? I hope companies put into those leadership positions the right people, not just women. If females are the best leaders they should be in those positions. I know there is a push for this so expect it to be 50% within 10-15 years.



Diesel will still have a role but my assumption is that over the next 10 years it will diminish purposefully and be replaced with cleaner-burning fuels, possibly cleaner burning diesel (not to fully contradict myself), but hydrogen, electric and other options will be in play.

This is somewhat an untapped industry. The interest is growing and thus investment will follow. Any technology that can improve the carrier service and the customer experience should excel.

De-carbonistation is very much on the menu now. In ten years, can diesel still have a role in powering freight trains?


/ If coal disappears as a traffic across much of the rail network by 2032 what can replace it?

I personally don’t think it will disappear, if for no other reason than export. India, China and other major consumers of coal have no guidelines to block the use of coal. While domestic consumption will continue to decline, and probably the total volume will decline, it will not disappear.


/ The gender-balance in the rail freight industry is in flux. How ‘female’ will rail freight be in ten years? I expect to see a growing percentage of female leaders in management but not a huge change in labour.

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June 20 2022 @freighttracks

/ What areas of technology in rail freight do you consider offer interesting prospects for development by 2032?


/ Where do you see IT in rail freight in 2032?

Following Q7 I believe tech is key to the future of rail.


/ Where do you see the sector of rail freight in which your company currently operates, in 2032?

Many changes, but in the end it will always boil down to relationships, trust and service. This will always be our focus.


0/ Personally, is it likely you will still be in the rail freight industry in 2032? If so, what will have kept you in? I will personally be 75 by then, but I expect to still be engaged, just at a different level of participation.

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