Union Pacific (UP) on May 5 announced a new partnership with refrigerated carrier Tiger Cool Express LLC to reinstate temperature-controlled intermodal rail service in eastern Washington.
UP on May 8, 2020, shut down its Cold Connect service for perishables traffic from the West Coast to the East Coast. Cold Connect began in January 2017 with the acquisition from Railex of three cold storage and distribution facilities in Delano, Calif.; Wallula, Wash.; and Rotterdam, N.Y.
Tiger Cool Express’s new 67-acre logistics center in Wallula, Wash.—the former Cold Connect facility—which the Overland Park, Kans.-based company leased from the Class I last December, is expected to be fully operational in August, following completion of a new intermodal ramp with capacity for 5,000 monthly lifts, according to UP. By 2024, the railroad says site volume is expected to increase to more than 22,000 annual container shipments of regional commodities like onions, apples, wine, pears and potatoes.
The renamed Tiger Tri-Cities Logistics Center, which also includes a 200,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse, 19 enclosed refrigerated rail docks, 38 refrigerated truck docks and a two-mile rail loop track, will “benefit the agricultural community in Idaho, Oregon and Washington by providing sustainable, cost-effective intermodal freight solutions,” UP said.
“We’re enthusiastic about Tiger Cool Express advancing an intermodal initiative that will remove thousands of trucks from the highway,” said UP Vice President-Premium, Marketing and Sales Kari Kirchhoefer. “This region continues to grow in logistical importance, and our network can support the envisioned growth.”
“This facility has the potential to be a ‘triple threat,’” said Tiger Cool Express Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Theodore Prince. “Beyond supporting our existing domestic business and agricultural exports, the Tri-Cities has land, labor, water and electricity that could make it a global logistics hub. It looks like the Inland Empire 30 years ago—only with the ability to run a short haul rail shuttle.”