Monday, October 26, 2009

UP, NS introduce Gulf Coast Flyer for chemical shipments

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Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern introduced 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 northeastern and southeastern United States.

Gulf Coast Flyer is designed to build on improved routing and enhanced operations coordination between the two railroads, leaders in serving the chemical marketplace. This product promotes expedited service for customers between the Gulf Coast region and major markets across the Northeast and Southeast. Eastbound and westbound shipments between the two railroads connect at the Salem, Ill., and New Orleans, La., gateways.

Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern made a combined investment of $740 million in terminals, main lines, bridges and sidings along Gulf Coast Flyer lanes from 2006-08 to strengthen service and enhance safety and reliability. As a result, transit times for shipments moving in major joint lanes improved by more than 20 percent for shippers. At the same time, the consistency of service improved by 10 percent.

"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."

In addition to the focus on improved service and coordination, the two railroads have worked to continue their focus on safety. An important part of that effort has been 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.

"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."

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