Union Pacific (UP) finalizes contracts for four hybrid cranes to test in its intermodal yards. Also, the government of Canada is investing up to C$12.5 million in an infrastructure project at the CN-served Port of Belledune in New Brunswick; and intermodal services firm Western IntermodeX acquires Quickload Logistics to boost import transload capacity in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
UP will purchase and test four hybrid cranes for use in its intermodal yards starting in 2024, the Class I railroad reported on the “Inside Track” section of its website. The move is part of the railroad’s goal of reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 26% by 2030 from a 2018 baseline, which it announced in 2021.
The new hybrid cranes will operate on battery, and when battery packs are low, a diesel generator will kick in to charge the battery and power the crane, according to UP, which expects the cranes to consume at least 50% less diesel than standard cranes.
“One of the exciting features of these cranes is that they will not burden the local power grids,” UP Director-Strategic Sourcing Travis Van Houten said. “The diesel powers the battery, meaning there is no need for a charging station.”
Three of the cranes will be used at UP’s Global I and Global II intermodal terminals in the Chicago, Ill., area. Each one will stand 65 feet tall and span 66 feet over two tracks and three driving lanes, the railroad said. They are slated to arrive in sections and be assembled on-site, with the first crane operational by late summer or early fall. According to UP, they will replace two older diesel cranes, while adding an additional crane to the terminal’s inventory.
The fourth crane—standing 40 feet tall and spanning 38 feet over one track and one driving lane—will be used at UP’s Los Angeles, Calif., terminal. Crane sections are scheduled to arrive in mid-2024, with operations beginning later that year.
“It’s incredible this technology exists, and we get to explore another avenue to reduce Union Pacific’s carbon footprint,” UP Director-Maintenance and Repair Nicholas Smith said. “We will be evaluating these cranes closely and exploring their potential for future use in other yards across our network.”
The government of Canada on Feb. 27 reported that it will invest up to C$12.5 million in a dry bulk conveyor loop project at the Port of Belledune in an aim to increase the quantities of bulk cargo handled and make it easier to move goods like forest products, minerals, and petroleum between vessels and other modes of transportation. The Port of Belledune is located on Chaleur Bay in northeastern New Brunswick.
The C$25 million project will create a loop between two terminals to facilitate reloading and transshipments. The government said its investment, made through the National Trade Corridors Fund, will be used to install fixed conveyors linking the deep-water terminal to the staging area, renovate existing storage, and build a new warehouse and transfer tower.
“This new conveyor system is a game-changer for Port operations, allowing us to move cargo more quickly and efficiently,” Port of Belledune CEO Denis Caron said.
“Today’s [Feb. 27] announcement at the Port of Belledune will help maintain the competitiveness, resilience and fluidity of our supply chain,” Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said. “The project would also allow the Port to maximize transshipment opportunities to the Great Lakes and the American Midwest, as well as from international ports.”
Western IntermodeX on Feb. 24 reported its acquisition of Quickload Logistics to expand its footprint in Prince Rupert and boost import transload capacity at the port, which is served by CN. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions.
IntermodeX, a Western Group Enterprise that has operated in the Prince Rupert area since 2019, is an integrated intermodal services company linking cargo moved by container, rail, barge and truck to global markets. It said it will retain Quickload Logistics’ employees.
“In our over 15 years of operation, we have built a reputation ensuring critical goods are handled efficiently and reliably,” said Matt Holland, President of Quickload Logistics. “Western IntermodeX is the right choice to build on the legacy of Quickload’s business.”
In a related development, Logistics firm DP World and Prince Rupert Port Authority in 2022 agreed to assess the feasibility of a second container terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert, which would add up to 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of annual capacity.