The cost of shipping dry bulk materials such as grain, coal or sand can be the most expensive part of a product cost especially when you consider the challenges associated with loading rail cars and trucks. For example, if you fill the car too much, there are considerable safety concerns, delays, and even fines that could be incurred. But, if you conservatively leave space in the car to avoid an overfilling, you are paying to ship air! According to the Association of American Railroads, “A hopper car carrying more than it is designed for can cause a breakdown in the wheel assembly. A loaded car weighing more than the rail line’s capacity can also cause the track to break down. In either case, the breakdown can lead to a derailment with all the danger, inconvenience and expense that such an accident involves.”1 With this in mind, it is understandable that oftentimes, when loading dry bulk materials, the car will only be filled to 90% capacity. However, when you think about it, if all of the rail cars could safely be filled to capacity, it would only take nine cars to ship the product that today takes ten. How many empty rail cars are you shipping?