Omaha, Neb.-based Class I railroad carrier Union Pacific (UP) recently announced that, effective this month, it has expanded its intermodal services at Port Houston out of the port’s Barbours Cut Terminal.
The company said that intermodal containers will be loaded directly onto railcars out of the port on route to five key United States-based metropolitan areas. And it added that this new service will provide its intermodal shipper customers with direct rail access to intermodal markets in Denver, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Los Angeles, and El Paso, while also observing this service will help to reduce over-the-road traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s more, UP said that this new service removes the need for containers to be moved via truck roughly 30 miles from Port Houston to the closest Houston-area rail facility, to be loaded onto rail cars, while also cutting down on Houston-area highway congestion.
“Union Pacific is always looking for ways to save our customers time, while providing them more options and greater ease to our rail network,” said Kari Kirchhoefer, Union Pacific senior vice president–Premium, Marketing and Sales, in a statement. “The new on-dock terminal service provides additional routing options to key metropolitan markets, while helping customers enhance their efficiency.”
A Union Pacific spokeswoman told LM there were various drivers for this new service.
“Union Pacific is always looking for opportunities to grow and invest in our intermodal network, and this was an excellent way to create value for our customers, by offering them alternative routes and reducing variability in the supply chain,” she said. “It also comes at a time when Port Houston has seen substantial growth.
The spokeswoman also noted that, in the past, it provided its import customers with off-dock service, requiring trucks to be used to transport the intermodal containers to a railyard approximately 30 miles away.
“This new service removes supply chain variability and makes rail more competitive in the intermodal market,” she said. “It also is a win for both communities and customers, by reducing highway congestion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”