Monday, October 26, 2009

UP, NS introduce 'Gulf Coast Flyer' for chemical shipments

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Union Pacific Railroad and Norfolk Southern Monday introduced the Gulf Coast Flyer, a rail service for the safe transport of chemicals between the Union Pacific-served southern Texas and Louisiana regions and Norfolk Southern destinations across the U.S. Northeast and Southeast.

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The two Class I railroads said the service “is designed to build on improved routing and enhanced operations coordination between the two railroads,” with eastbound and westbound shipments between the two railroads connecting at both the Salem, Ill., and New Orleans, La., gateways.

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With an investment of $740 million in infrastructure upgrades, UP and NS foresee transit times for shipments moving in major joint lanes improving “by more than 20% for shippers.”

"The investment in these lanes combined with increased coordination between our two railroads directly benefits our customers," said Diane Duren, vice president and general manager of Chemicals for Union Pacific. "Transit times in these lanes are faster, which lowers inventory carrying costs for customers. It also allows them to turn their private equipment faster, getting better utilization from their assets. Service reliability also is improved, providing our customers with greater supply chain efficiencies."

The railroads say they also continue their focus on safety, including “through ongoing training efforts with TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), the voluntary national outreach effort to help communities prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident. Working with TRANSCAER, Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern have helped train more than 5,000 responders in communities along Gulf Coast Flyer lanes since 2006,” the railroads said.

"As we work together to offer a faster, more reliable product for customers, safety remains a primary focus for both of our teams," said Joe Osborne, vice president-Chemicals for Norfolk Southern. "With Gulf Coast Flyer service, we offer the safety and environmental advantages of shipping by rail, along with the expedited transit and reliable service advantages customers require in these critical markets."