Union Pacific operates North America’s premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states in the western two-thirds of the United States. PES spoke to Byron Willis and Beth Whited to ask just what that means for the transportation of freight for the wind industry. What are the points of differentiation for Union Pacific compared to other railroads as a wind component hauler
Byron Willis: A growing network of wind distribution centers, a fully integrated logistics solution through Union Pacific Distribution Services, the right equipment and the greenest locomotive fleet in the industry allow Union Pacific to serve wind energy customers like no other transportation company. We were the first railroad to offer door-to-door rail transportation solutions for moving wind turbine components. We are on the Web at www.up.com/wind.
PES: What are your advantages compared to over-the-road trucks? Beth Whited: Union Pacific offers several advantages: •
Rail is considerably less expensive due to our ability to simplify logistics and achieve economies of scale • We own our tracks so we do not require the state-by-state permitting necessary for trucks • We operate in a more controlled and safer environment • Trucks add to highway congestion; it takes considerably more trucks to deliver the same number of wind turbines UP can deliver on a single train • Rail is three times cleaner than trucks in terms of air emissions • UP can move one ton 830 miles on a single gallon of fuel, the equivalent of your car getting more than 400 mpg
In addition to all these advantages, our transit time is equal to or faster than trucks on average.
PES: How did Union Pacific get involved in the wind business and how has UP grown with the wind energy industry? BW: Customer service, cost efficiency and safe transport have helped us grow from a single train in 2003 to roughly 2,300 carloads in 2008. We have a clear understanding of the wind industry’s unique engineering requirements and we work with manufacturers to develop solutions in the areas of securement, transportation equipment, loading and unloading. We develop and manage distribution centers across the U.S. as well as monitor loaded or empty car shipments from origin to destination. The combination of our in-transit visibility, inventory management and single-source billing makes it easy for customers to do business with us.