International transport and distribution

Advantages and disadvantages of rail transport for international trade


Rail transport can be a cost-effective and efficient way to move your goods, but you need to carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks to see if it's suitable for your business.

Advantages of rail transport for international trade

Some of the advantages of rail transport when moving goods includes:

  • fast rail links throughout Europe
  • it is environmentally friendly compared with other transport modes

Disadvantages of rail transport for international trade

There are risks and disadvantages of transporting your goods by rail including:

  • routes and timetables available can be inflexible, especially in remote regions
  • rail transport can be more expensive than road transport
  • mechanical failure or industrial action can disrupt services
  • further transportation may be needed from a rail depot to the final destination, adding to costs and affecting delivery schedules
  • lack of dedicated cargo facilities and developed cargo routes in Northern Ireland

For more detailed information see our guide on how to move goods by rail.