An unprecedented disruption in the global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a major impact on many U.S. industries.
Freight rail has had to adapt daily over the last two years to keep goods moving, and Union Pacific Railroad is taking its lessons learned by investing in adding more capacity and committing to moving more intermodal freight.
That commitment includes investing $600 million of capital in 2022 alone as the company works to add more than one million lifts to the intermodal franchise and ramps up hiring so resources match demand.
The various ways Union Pacific continues to adapt and invest to keep freight moving were the focus of panel discussions during FreightWeekSTL 2022 held last week.
“Throughout the supply chain crisis, Union Pacific has been working to make sure that we’re agile with our resources,” said Elise Gosch, assistant vice president marketing and sales – Premium Intermodal at Union Pacific. “Every new day brings a new challenge, but we believe rail is the safest, most efficient way to move freight across our United States.”
For 160 years, the company has played a vital role in freight movement across the United States, and today operates more than 32,000 miles of track in 23 western states.
Union Pacific operates 31 different intermodal ramps nationwide. Its intermodal yard in Dupo has international and domestic freight.
Gosch said optionality is key, and Dupo is well positioned in that it can take both types of services. Location should also be a significant driver of future growth at the Dupo Intermodal Yard and within the surrounding community, which has available land for future development.
“The Dupo location will only become more attractive given other infrastructure investments being made that will enable truck traffic to avoid going to the downtown area and have more of a direct route into the facility,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multimodal Enterprises for Bi-State Development, which includes the St. Louis Regional Freightway as one of its enterprises. “There are also opportunities for closing some of the crossings, which helps with safety.”
According to Gosch, the most significant infrastructure project underway that will impact the Dupo Intermodal Yard is the reconstruction of the Merchants Bridge.
“That’s just a great example of public-private investment working together to improve fluidity and safety, and just one example in the St. Louis area where investment will add value,” Gosch said.