May 31, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

Union Pacific is the latest Class 1 railroad to announce faster, direct intermodal service from Texas to other key markets. UP announced Tuesday that it will provide a direct, quicker intermodal service from Port Houston Barbours Cut container terminal to cities north and west of Texas. 

In a press release, Union Pacific indicated that the service would enable direct loading of intermodal units onto rail cars so they would not need to be trucked to a rail yard some 30 miles away from the port.

This is the latest salvo fired by a class 1 railroad since the recent merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern into CPKC. CPKC announced faster service that would link Canada, the U.S. midwest and Mexico, cutting at least a day of transit compared to their competition. That announcement last month set off a frenzy of announcements from BNSF and Union Pacific that they were opening up direct lanes to midwest and western markets. 

The industry has been losing market share to trucking companies and carrying lower carloads, which some industry analysts say is due to the establishment of Precision Scheduled Railroading, resulting in fewer and longer trains.  Shippers and short line railroads have voiced concern over delays in moving cars and getting product due to PSR.

The new UP service will link the port at Houston to Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Oakland in California as well as to El Paso.

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