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Union Pacific introduces Chicago-South Carolina route for shippers

Union Pacific introduces Chicago-South Carolina route for shippers
Union Pacific introduces Chicago-South Carolina route for shippers

Union Pacific is broadening its reach in the Chicago region by introducing a new direct domestic intermodal service that connects the Los Angeles Basin to Chicago. This is aimed at enhancing the efficiency of cargo transfers and reducing road congestion by shifting freight from road to rail.

This service will operate from the Lance Fritz Inland Empire Intermodal Terminal in Fontana, California, to the Global 2 facility in Northlake, Illinois. It is designed to handle all domestic container shipments, serving as an addition to the currently available routes to Global 4 in Joliet, Illinois. 

Eastbound and westbound transit times will range from four to six days, depending on the services agreement. 

Service more markets 

This expansion is part of Union Pacific’s strategy to optimize supply chain logistics by offering more direct, efficient routes for shippers.

Kari Kirchhoefer, senior vice president at Premium says: “Connecting Chicago to the Inland Empire is another example of Union Pacific expanding its services to more markets to meet our customers’ needs and to help capture over-the-road shipments, easing congestion on our nation’s highways.” 

The newly launched service will enable customers to cut drayage expenses in both the greater Chicago metropolitan area and Southern California by providing intermodal options that are closer to the first and last mile of the shipping route. This strategic enhancement is designed to streamline logistics operations by reducing the need for extended hauls, thereby improving efficiency and lowering overall transportation costs.

Intermodal ramp in Wallula, Washington 

In November, Tri-Cities Intermodal (TCI), a newly formed company, signed a lease/purchase agreement with Union Pacific to acquire a warehouse and property which will see the company develop an intermodal ramp in Wallula, Washington. 

Previously the Tiger Cool Express had plans to operate the space, but its operations shut down in June 2023. 

Rail freight industry 

Sustainability in doing business is gaining momentum around the world, including the logistics space. 

Earlier this month in the UK, Varamis Rail announced the launch of a zero-emission freight service in London. This will allow goods to be delivered by electric trains in the city. 

In November, the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it has invested $1.4 billion from the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into 70 rail projects. This is the largest amount ever awarded for rail safety and supply chain upgrades through the Consolidation Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

Mordor Intelligence reports the US market for freight rail transportation is expected to increase by as much as 30% to 40% by 2050. “While trains are increasingly delivering consumer products as the e-commerce boom continues, freight rail competes directly with trucking to move automobiles, coal, and chemical cargo,” reads the report. 

ALSO READ: Drop-and-hook demand on the rise, says Uber Freight

Photo Credit: Union Pacific

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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