Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the biggest difference in the over-the-road vs rail transportation environment for intermodal shipments ? How do we address that difference in our shipments?

On rail, every load will be subject to harmonic or vertical vibration. Over-the-road trucks do not experience this vibration. What this means is the load will actually float at one speed. Five identical loads may each float at different speeds. If a train happens to operate for an extended period at the critical speed for a particular load, the product will begin to move laterally and longitudinally. If the units are not tightly wrapped or banded to a pallet, the stack may fall apart. This is often mistaken for impact damage which it is not since adjacent units are often intact. To stop or reduce this movement, we need to apply very basic blocking and bracing to maintain well unitized product in its original position. i.e. 18" 2x4 secured with 16d nails in a staggered pattern spaced 4-5" apart.

Do I need a load plan?

Yes. All shipments should be loaded using a load plan or diagram. Blank and generic diagrams can be found at Damage Prevention-Intermodal section. If you are loading a type of product not shown, please contact Ryan Deakins, Damage Prevention Engineer (Intermodal), for assistance at 402-544-3791.

Why do I need to unitize my load?

By grouping smaller similarly sized products into a larger unit, a stronger unit is created. Coupled with the proper dunnage, this will help to prevent damage to your load.

Why does the nut have to be tightened all the way on the bolt and bent over?

This method makes it much harder for a casual thief to break into your load.

Does my dunnage have to be AAR approved?

Yes, see the Dunnage section for listings of vendors whose dunnage products have met AAR standards.

Why do I have to use dunnage in my load?

Dunnage is used to prevent damage to the load by filling voids that could otherwise allow lateral or longitudinal movement of the load.

What if my product is damaged while in transit? How does UP handle freight claims?

If you suspect damage resulted in transit and UP is your destination carrier, report it immediately to our damage prevention freight claims representatives at 1-800-521-3253. They will explain the freight claim filing procedures.