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Union Pacific increases frequency of some key intermodal offerings

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 30, 2014

Class I railroad carrier Union Pacific recently announced that it has increased the frequency of two of its main intermodal services–Portland-Chicago, and Northern California-Chicago-by offering four-day delivery in the morning.

UP said the impetus for this frequency increase on these routes, which are part of the company’s “premium” intermodal service, was driven by increased customer need for truck-competitive service between western U.S. markets and Chicago.

The Portland-Chicago service, called Portland Premium, operates six days per week westbound and five days per week eastbound, according to UP. And the Northern California-Chicago service, called NorCal, connects Chicago and the Northern California region, utilizing Union Pacific’s Oakland and Lathrop intermodal ramps, and operates between five and seven days per week depending on direction and specific origin/destination points, the carrier said. Intermodal customers utilizing these enhanced service lanes have access to EMP and UMAX equipment, the largest rail-owned container fleet in North America, with wholesale door-to-door transportation options are available via Union Pacific subsidiary Streamline.

The Portland-Chicago service frequency increased starting in May, and the NorCal-Chicago premium service first started in January and was enhanced in April, according to a company spokesperson.

“The levels of prior and current service enhancements vary, but combined the impact of the enhanced services is 11 additional weekly train starts and added premium service to further support customer needs,” the spokesperson said. “Because Union Pacific is offering more premium service (highest level) in these lanes, more capacity is then available on its standard intermodal train service.”

In May,UP formally introduced its $400 million, Santa Teresa, New Mexico-based Intermodal Ramp (STIR), which opened up on April 1.

Company officials said that this 2,200-acre site will connect businesses to strategic markets in the Southwestern United States and beyond, adding it will provide logistics gains for shippers along its Sunset Line, which runs 760 miles from El Paso, Texas to Los Angeles and serves key locations in Calexico, Mexico, Yuma, Arizona, Phoenix, and Tucson. UP said it will increase throughput along that route and improve its projection capability to points North, East and West.

About the Author

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Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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