In a recent National Association of Manufacturers survey, 80 percent of manufacturers said they had a sustainability policy in place or were developing one. Freight railcar equipment designer and manufacturer The Greenbrier Companies is making strides through innovative sustainable design—from reducing railcar tare weight to efficiently building marine vessels.
“At Greenbrier, we pride ourselves on manufacturing among the most environmentally friendly forms of transportation while simultaneously improving our production processes and engineering designs,” said Jack Isselmann, Senior Vice President, External Affairs & Communications. “This promotes long-term sustainability across the transportation and shipping industries.”
These innovations present exciting opportunities for long-term progress. Greenbrier has introduced innovative railcar designs since 1985, beginning with the double-stack intermodal unit. Prior to its inception, the number of trailer-equivalent units per train maxed out at 120. With the ability to stack two units per railcar, that number quickly grew to over 200 units per train, saving space, time and money.
In addition, Greenbrier aims to make its operations more efficient by minimizing the weight and length of an individual railcar while simultaneously increasing its volume, allowing for more railcar units per train. Through a process called articulation—which reduces the weight of one railcar by making it share axles with another—Greenbrier is decreasing the space between railcars, ensuring that more may be included in trains and allowing for greater efficiency through a larger volume of transported products. Additionally, articulation increases braking efficiencies, which reduces fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Manufacturers across the country are making operational changes that promote sustainability and prioritize our environment,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, Director of Resources and Energy Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “With 12 million employees throughout all 50 states, the manufacturing industry understands the positive impact our sustainability efforts can have—and we are committed to setting an example for other industries nationwide.”
For more information on Greenbrier’s approach to corporate responsibility, see its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance report.