Freight Rail Delivers Iowa Ethanol to National and World Markets

Consistently the nation’s leading corn producer, the Hawkeye State also leads the way on ethanol production at about 2 billion gallons per year. With only about 7 percent of ethanol consumed in state, railroads have a key role to play in shipping Iowa ethanol — and other agricultural and manufacturing products — to destinations across North America and for export internationally.

Iowa's 17 freight railroads operate over 3,838 miles of track and employ 3,058 in the Hawkeye State.* It would have taken approximately 18.1 million additional truckloads to move the 325.8 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Iowa in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 6.46 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.27 million cars off the road or planting 97.9 million trees. Food products and chemicals make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Iowa. Coal is the largest rail import to the state.

*2019 data

Rail at Work

Iowa

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Featured Rail Supply Companies

Iowa

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Professional Transportation, Inc.
NRCMA
HDR
RJ Corman Railroad Group
Hulcher Services Inc.

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44 percent
decrease

in rail rates on average from 1981 to today.


That means the average rail customer today can ship significantly more freight for about the same price they paid 40 years ago. 

State Director

Iowa
Emily Traiforos

Emily Traiforos

State Director

Emily Traiforos joined GoRail in March 2006 and oversees its operations in the Upper Midwest and Colorado.