June 1, 2023

Union Pacific expands intermodal service at Port Houston


Union Pacific is expanding intermodal service at Port Houston for customers seeking to reach five metropolitan markets in the western U.S.

The service, which starts Thursday, enables ocean carriers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to load intermodal containers directly onto flat cars at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal at Port Houston instead of having to go as far as 30 miles inland to load those containers using a dray carrier, according to UP (NYSE: UNP).

The expanded service provides direct access to Denver, Salt Lake City, El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

Of the lanes this SONAR chart highlights, HOU-LAX has the most volume, followed by HOU-OAK. Data factors in volume from both UP and BNSF. (FreightWaves SONAR) To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.
This SONAR chart shows that while HOU-LAX is the densest lane, HOU-OAK has shown the most growth over the past year. (FreightWaves SONAR)

“Union Pacific is always looking for ways to save our customers time, while providing them more options and greater ease to our rail network,” Kari Kirchhoefer, UP senior vice president of premium, marketing and sales, said in a release. “The new on-dock terminal service provides additional routing options to key metropolitan markets, while helping customers enhance their efficiency.”

UP says ocean carriers discharging at Bayport can also use this new service by doing a short-haul dray from Bayport to Barbours Cut. Bayport is another container facility at Port Houston.

“Port Houston is a top five container port and growing fast, and intermodal solutions like this help ensure continued efficient movement of goods to locations throughout the U.S.,” said Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther.

UP’s expanded intermodal offering comes as its Western competitor, BNSF (NYSE: BRK.B), also recently announced an expanded intermodal offering between the Barbours Cut Container Terminal and BNSF’s intermodal facility at Alliance, Texas, near the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That service, slated to start on Friday, is for customers seeking to access the Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver markets.

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