LA port delays challenge Union Pacific

Union Pacific will haul all ONE’s containers arriving in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma. UP photo

The biggest Class I continues to see delays at the nation’s biggest intermodal gateway.

Shortages of power and railcars, and congestion from new shipping patterns have slowed operations for Union Pacific at marine terminals in the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach.

The delays include positioning intermodal equipment at the terminals, as well as in moving trains from the port to inland destinations, according to a report.

Import volumes are expected to increase as carriers prepare for the upcoming peak shipping season from late July through October.

Union Pacific is adjusting to a consolidation of traffic from three former ocean carriers into one service at Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles. Yusen Vice President Alan McCorkle said locomotive and rail car shortages have occurred sporadically since the ONE service launched in April.

The consolidation of Japan’s NYK Line, MOL, and “K” Line makes ONE the largest intermodal shipper in the trans-Pacific trade, and one of Union Pacific’s largest customers, the railroad said in its Inside Track publication. Union Pacific will haul all ONE’s containers arriving in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma.

Creighton Reinhard, who manages the ONE account at UP, said he coordinates internally among more than 10 departments and hundreds of employees to manage intermodal moves to and from all of the West Coast port gateways.

Union Pacific, like most U.S. Class I carriers, has been wrestling with crew and equipment shortages, and operational changes, for some time. It has been adding crew on the ground, deploying locomotives from storage and leasing additional power as necessary.

Both UP and BNSF also are dealing with the perennial issue of equipment imbalance in an effort to match westbound empties with eastbound loads, a ratio that varies from 88% to 48%.

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor for

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