Union Pacific to open intermodal terminal in Southern California

Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) announced Tuesday that it will open an intermodal terminal in Southern California’s import distribution region near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The terminal, which will open in the second quarter of 2021, will give customers expanded access to the Chicago market and other major areas. 

The terminal will start as a pop-up terminal at the West Colton rail yard. It will offer domestic intermodal service between Southern California and Chicago. The railroad also expects to expand the service to Dallas and southeast markets.

“We are excited to expand our intermodal presence and do it where we can reduce truck traffic on California’s highways, cut drayage costs and compete effectively for domestic intermodal freight,” said Kenny Rocker, Union Pacific (UP) executive vice president for marketing and sales. “Inland Empire Intermodal Terminal demonstrates our commitment to intermodal and the strength of Union Pacific’s franchise to grow quickly and strategically using our existing footprint.”

Just last week, UP said it was building a grain transload facility at its intermodal terminal near Chicago. The facility will be for Midwest agricultural exporters seeking access to West Coast ports.

Port of South Louisiana readies new rail yard

Dignitaries affiliated with the Port of South Louisiana celebrated the completion of a six-track rail yard in St. Charles Parish with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday. 

The rail yard, at a port-owned property on the west bank of the Mississippi River, can accommodate between 250 and 350 railcars. Dow Chemical, which has access to the yard via a rail spur designed and installed by Dow, will use the rail yard exclusively for railcar maintenance and storage.

The port announced the completion of the project on April 15. Construction began in January 2020, and the yard is meant to comply with standards recommended by Dow and Union Pacific. Construction included the installation of a 2,000-square-yard two-track railcar storage and maintenance pad and related infrastructure, an access road from LA Highway 18, over 27,000 feet of track connecting to the rail spur and switches to facilitate “cherry-picking” cars, the port said.

Dow has a 20-year lease agreement with the port.

“Dow is excited about the completion of the railroad and the partnership with the Port of South Louisiana,” said Jackie Yaworski, site director at Dow Chemical. “With rail volumes increasing this gives us the ability to store more railcars on site and lower our shipping costs.”

The port consists of a 54-mile port district between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. The port handles 250 million tons of cargo annually. Within the port district, there are seven grain transfer facilities, four oil refineries and 11 petrochemical manufacturing facilities, among other facilities. 

Rail lessor SMBC Rail Services appoints Michael McCarthy as president and CEO

SMBC Group announced Monday that Michael McCarthy will be the next president and CEO of SMBC Rail Services, a rail lessor and maintenance services provider.

McCarthy, who has served as senior vice president at SMBC Rail Services, will take the reins from Eugene “Gene” Henneberry, who is retiring July 9.

McCarthy joined the company in December 2013 as vice president of portfolio management after SMBC completed its acquisition of Flagship Rail Services. He was responsible for implementing direct market sales strategies and managing the rail services customer services team, SMBC said. McCarthy has over 20 years of experience in railcar leasing through service at Flagship Rail Services/AIG Rail Services, GE Capital Rail Services and GATX (NYSE: GATX). 

Over Henneberry’s 15-year term at SMBC Rail Services, the company has grown to 70 employees with a fleet of more than 60,00 railcars. It operates offices in two cities and has commercial locations in nine cities and two countries.

“Working closely with Gene, Michael has done an outstanding job and is a natural fit and successor to lead the Rail Services business,” said Hiro Hyakutome, CEO and head of SMBC Americas Division as well as president and CEO of SMBC Americas Holdings Inc. “Michael’s promotion is another tangible example of our strong pipeline of senior talent, ready to take on a leadership role.”

SMBC Rail Services is affiliated with Tokyo-headquartered SMBC Group, a financial services firm.

“I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to work with the most talented and passionate team in the rail industry,” said Henneberry. “Having led this team through the financial crisis, two company sales, the acquisition of American Railcar Leasing and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging at times and without a doubt the most fulfilling professional time of my life. 

“Michael was one of the original members of my team. His experience leading the portfolio management, commercial and customer service teams provides a unique perspective. He is best suited to lead this business through its next chapter,” Henneberry said.

McCarthy said Henneberry’s “leadership and guidance throughout the past 15 years has helped to grow and expand our footprint. We have a dedicated group of exceptionally talented employees who have many years of industry experience. I look forward to taking the helm and building on the achievements Gene and our SMBC Rail Services team have made over almost two decades. We have a very strong foundation in place.” 

Karen Carriere joins Transportation Technology Center Inc.

Karen Carriere will serve as executive director of technical services for the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI). 

Based in Pueblo, Colorado, TTCI is a research arm affiliated with the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carriere will oversee the AAR technical committees that develop, maintain and enforce North American railroad interchange rules, mechanical standards and component specifications. 

Carriere has over 25 years of technical experience in railroad operations and management, and she most recently served as vice president of technical services for rail technology supplier Wabtec (NYSE: WAB). She has served on multiple AAR technical task force and waiver committees and she has served as president of both the Air Brake Association and the Canadian Air Brake Association. 

“The industry depends upon TTCI to provide technical services that support the rulemaking process,” said TTCI President Lisa Stabler. “I know that Karen’s long experience as a member of the AAR technical committees will allow her to be very successful in this new role. I’m excited to have her join Team TTCI.” 

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