Union Pacific Railroad has seized on an uptick in demand for intermodal and automotive service between Laredo, Texas and Memphis, Tenn., and the strategy appears to be fruitful.
The Omaha-based railroad launched the new service on Nov. 5, 2013, and has “several customers” contributing to steady business, company spokeswoman Calli Hite said. Twelve trains are scheduled each week, with six departing Memphis headed for Laredo and six departing Laredo destined for Memphis.
UP says it offers speed and efficiency over competitors in the trucking sector even though the line’s intermodal service relies on containers delivered and picked up by trucks.
“With a truck-competitive transit time, this service allows our automotive manufacturing customers to convert truck shipments to rail with minimal impact to their on-hand inventory of auto parts and the customized racks required to ship them,” said Linda Brandl, vice president of automotive at UP.
The Memphis metropolitan market is home to one of UP’s busiest intermodal yards. Located on the west side of the Mississippi River in Marion, Ark., the intermodal terminal there handled 271,000 containers in 2012, making it UP’s seventh-busiest terminal in the U.S.
By comparison, the railroad’s intermodal facility in Council Bluffs handled about 50,000 containers in 2012.