RailPulse has a seventh member: Union Pacific, which on June 7 joined the coalition established in late 2020 to “develop, broaden and accelerate the use of GPS and other telematics technologies in North America’s freight rail industry.”
RailPulse is working not only to provide “visibility into the status, location and condition of rail equipment and the commodities being transported,” but also to use “key data to provide real-time performance information, including safety data, on railcars to shippers, railcar owners and railroads.” This will ultimately “advance rail safety, increase telematics adoption [and] drive growth in freight rail utilization,” according to the coalition comprising founding members Norfolk Southern (NS), GATX Corporation, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., TrinityRail, and Watco; The Greenbrier Companies, which signed on in December 2021; and now UP.
The addition of UP follows RailPulse’s May 31 announcement that Railinc will develop, maintain and operate RailPulse’s technology platform for monitoring railcar location, condition and health across North American supply chains.
“RailPulse is on track to meet its initial milestone for platform introduction in early 2023,” the coalition reported on June 7. “Member companies are currently facilitating trials with remote monitoring equipment from select vendors on their railcars. As the coalition receives and analyzes data from these trials, members plan to share conclusions later this year in preparation of the planned platform launch.”
“The use of technology to increase shipment visibility is critical for ensuring we meet the needs and expectations of our customers who rely upon us for safe and reliable service,” said Kenny Rocker, Executive Vice President-Marketing and Sales for UP. “RailPulse’s mission to establish new standards and support GPS and telematics use enhances customer experiences. Ultimately, an improved shipper experience can attract more shipments to the North American rail network.”
“The Board of RailPulse is very excited to welcome Union Pacific to RailPulse,” NS Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Mike McClellan said. “Interest in RailPulse and the coalition’s mission continues to grow. Adding Union Pacific to our ownership ranks demonstrates the strategic appeal of the transformative technology that RailPulse is pursuing for the betterment of all participants in the rail ecosystem: shippers, builders, railcar owners and the railroads.”
“We began talking with the Union Pacific’s commercial leadership team several months ago,” TrinityRail Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Gregg Mitchell said. “During those discussions, we identified a shared interest in improving the shippers’ experience. With the improved safety, efficiency and visibility RailPulse seeks to achieve, railroad customers will have compelling reasons to shift more of their supply chains to rail.”
“Genesee & Wyoming has a strong short line partnership with Union Pacific, and we look forward to them as a valuable member of the RailPulse coalition,” said Genesee & Wyoming North America President Michael Miller, who was recently selected by Railway Age readers as an Influential Leader for 2022. “Among our customers, we are seeing growing demands for more transparency in freight rail transportation. This is a worthy undertaking not only for each of the member companies, but the industry as a whole.”
“Union Pacific’s decision to work with RailPulse is just another example of the growing excitement around a collaborative approach to remote monitoring and telematics in North American freight rail,” Watco Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Stefan Loeb said. “It takes Class I’s working with short lines, equipment owners and shippers to bring about transformational change.”
“2022 is shaping up to be a big year for RailPulse,” GATX Corporation Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Robert Zmudka reported. “We continue to make progress on building the foundation of the RailPulse platform, and Union Pacific’s decision to work with the coalition is a testament to the collaborative approach RailPulse has chosen. Additional exciting announcements are in the works. We’re eager to share these developments.”
In related news, David Shannon in May was selected as the first General Manager of RailPulse. Additionally, Railinc’s TransmetriQ reported on April 19 that it is providing shippers a “one-stop shop to manage and analyze their rail operations.” And Knorr-Bremse is now customer of and strategic investor in Swiss firm Nexxiot.