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Utah and Long Beach take action to address supply chain delays

Utah and Long Beach take action to address supply chain delays

(Posted on 28/10/21)

The Port of Long Beach (POLB), the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA), and Union Pacific Railroad have announced a bold initiative that brings rapid relief from existing port congestion by optimizing rail deliveries between California and Utah. In a joint statement, Executive Directors Mario Cordero of the Port of Long Beach and Jack Hedge of the Utah Inland Port Authority said “The direct, regularly scheduled rail service connecting the Port of Long Beach to Salt Lake City will allow cargo destined for all of the Intermountain West to be rapidly evacuated from terminals in Long Beach to Salt Lake City for further distribution throughout the region. Much of this cargo traditionally moves to Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and Idaho by truck.”

The initiative is the first implementation of an agreement between POLB and UIPA that focuses on reducing congestion and cost associated with cargo movement through the corridor by optimizing the existing on- and near-dock rail system of the Port of Long Beach to reduce dwell times and improve the speed and consistency of rail deliveries to and from Utah.

The Port of Long Beach is the USA’s second-busiest seaport. The Utah Inland Port Authority is a state agency with a regional approach to increase utilization and expand access for commerce throughout Utah.

“A direct connection to Utah links two critical points in the supply chain and immediately reduces pressure on terminal storage, gates, chassis, and the local drayage community on the coast,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Not only is this a more efficient service for importers in the Intermountain West, but it’s also a major step forward for exporters from the region.”

“Union Pacific is pleased to support customers in the region,” said Hasan Hyder, General Director of Intermodal at Union Pacific. “Our Salt Lake City facilities offer a perfect relief valve for some of the current port congestion and open a new world of services for companies across the region.”

This initiative aims to provide consistent, reliable movement of cargo on rail that improves fluidity and reduces delays of shipments already set to come to the Intermountain region, rather than increase cargo volume.

“Converting road into rail cargo has many benefits and is part of our ongoing drive to reduce impacts associated with cargo movement,” said Jack Hedge, Executive Director of the Utah Inland Port Authority. “In addition to providing enhanced efficiency for regional importers and exporters, this service will reduce truck traffic across Utah and positively impact our local air quality and freeway congestion issues.”

Loading 100 intermodal rail cars equates to 300 trucks off the road. An analysis by the Association of American Railroads concluded railroads are, on average, four times more fuel efficient than trucks and moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent.

Improving visibility of cargo is also a key component to untangling the supply chain and improving capacity. UIPA has announced the Intelligent Crossroads Network (“ICN”), a private 5G and artificial intelligence network built in partnership with QuayChain Technologies that will allow cargo tracking, monitoring and planning, and even greater efficiencies for users throughout the corridor connecting Long Beach and Utah.

“Both UIPA and POLB agree that current issues in the supply chain reveal the urgent need for new ways of doing business and solutions that combine existing resources and new technologies,” Hedge said. “The ICN allows for the most digitally connected logistics experience possible in the supply chain.”

"Malouf Companies is supportive of any and all efforts to ease the port congestion in Southern California,” said Casey Heslop, International Logistics Manager. “We appreciate the efforts of UIPA and the Port of Long Beach in engaging with rail and other supply chain providers in the region, and we are optimistic that such engagement can result in significant economic and environmental benefits.”

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