Union Pacific Railroad Provides Wind Energy Industry with Safer, Greener and More Cost-Effective Transportation Solutions
Omaha, Neb., September 29, 2009 For centuries, the wind's energy has been harnessed to help grind corn and bring water out of the ground. Today, wind energy is helping Americans become less dependent on foreign oil by providing alternative energy sources, so it is fitting that the wind energy industry continues to ship more products with Union Pacific Railroad. In addition to being safer and more cost effective than trucks, freight trains are nearly four times more fuel efficient and three times cleaner than trucks in terms of air emissions.
"The wind power business is an emerging market and we are proving to be a valuable transportation service provider in this growing industry," said Byron Willis, Union Pacific executive director – International Business. "Customer service, cost efficiency and safe transport have helped us grow our business into the complete logistics solution it is today."
Union Pacific provides numerous advantages for its wind energy customers:
- With its wealth of experience, the railroad has a clear understanding of the wind industry's unique shipping requirements and works closely with customers to engineer new equipment.
- Union Pacific's rail transportation solution is considerably less expensive due to simplified logistics and economies of scale by working with its Union Pacific Distribution Services (UPDS) subsidiary.
- Union Pacific owns its own tracks and does not require the state-by-state permitting necessary for trucks.
- Its trains operate in a more controlled and safer environment.
- Moving wind turbine components via Union Pacific trains helps reduce highway congestion; it takes considerably more trucks to deliver the same number of wind turbines.
- Union Pacific can move one ton 830 miles on a single gallon of fuel, the equivalent of a passenger vehicle getting more than 400 miles per gallon.
Union Pacific was the first railroad to offer a door-to-door transportation service for wind turbine components. The company began shipping wind turbine components in 2003. The parts that comprise wind turbine assemblies - towers, blades, nacelles (the turbine engine) and hubs - usually are transported in 40- to 60-rail car unit trains.
Wind component dimensions and weights are perfectly suited for rail. Blades can range in length from 95-202 feet with the most common lengths being 140-160 feet long. Nacelles are extremely heavy, weighing in at 60-95 tons and the towers are shipped in three- or four-piece sections depending on the finished tower's height.
Interest in transporting wind turbine components has grown over the years and in 2007 Union Pacific joined American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
"According to AWEA and our own research, many of the ports served by Union Pacific are expanding investments and capacity to make it easier to unload shipments of wind energy components and equipment. These investments along with those by Union Pacific are critical to create new sources of energy – a top priority for our nation," said Eric Butler, Union Pacific vice president and general manager - Industrial Products.
"The combination of our in-transit visibility, inventory management and single-source billing makes it easy for customers to do business with us," said Beth Whited, Union Pacific Distribution Services assistant vice president and general manager. "Customers have one contact, one rate, door-to-door shipping and door-to-door monitoring through UP and UPDS."
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
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