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Shipping oversized wind components across a massive rail network is a highly complex process

Union Pacific is one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is North America’s premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. PES speaks to Ken Adams who heads up the company’s wind team …
PES: Welcome back to PES magazine. First, can you explain for the benefit of any of our readers who may not be familiar with your operation, what services you offer to the wind industry?
Ken Adams: Thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on Union Pacific’s wind transportation program. Since the shipment of a single train of wind components seven years ago, Union Pacific has greatly expanded the capabilities we offer customers and are establishing ourselves as the transportation leader in the wind industry.

The shipment of oversized wind components across a rail network can be complex, so to streamline that process, we’ve created a specialized, cross-functional team to develop complete door-to-door transportation solutions that are customized to meet the installation schedules of each wind project, ensuring that components are delivered on-time and damage-free. Supporting that effort is Union Pacific Distribution Services (UPDS), our subsidiary company, managing all of the logistics support of our wind components shipments, as well as our growing network of wind distribution centers across the US. In addition to UPDS, we partner with other world class companies to provide complete door-to-door logistics solutions.

PES: What have been the major developments for Union Pacific and its wind component hauler business since we last spoke?
KA: The two most important developments since last September are the increasing number of customers and wind components that we have qualified for rail shipping and the fact that we have opened six new wind distribution centers, doubling the size of our network. We have an additional 12 sites identified for wind distribution centers in key strategic areas for future development. In the past several months, there were three new wind manufacturing plants built, or in the process of being built, on our railroad, reflecting the shift to domestic sourcing. We have also had another major plant add rail track at their facility to allow for the building of dedicated unit trains of wind components, shifting their transportation away from truck to leverage the inherent advantages of shipping by rail. 

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