Trains bound for Utah part of plan to fix crippled supply chain

Oct 28, 2021, 6:05 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2021, 5:19 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Dozens of shipping containers stuck at the Port of Long Beach could soon be headed to Utah by train. It’s part of a solution put forward by the Inland Port Authority and Union Pacific to relieve the cargo ship bottleneck that has disrupted the country’s supply chain.

If all goes as planned, we could see trains stacked with shipping containers come into Utah within the next two or three days.

The rails are already in place, which KSL TV was told makes the transition relatively easy.

A big part of the gridlock is supposed to make its way onto semis, but Utah’s Inland Port Authority is pushing another option.

“There’s about $4 billion worth of goods sitting in boxes on boats offshore right now,” said Jack Hedge, Executive Director of the Inland Port Authority. “It kind of rose to the level where people really need to deal with it.”

Hedge said Utah stands to get some of its backed-up goods faster.

“This is really the idea of really using all the assets in the network better and more efficiently,” he added.

Hedge believes the change could happen immediately. Shipping containers, meant for Utah would be loaded on Union Pacific trains.

Utah Inland Port Authority Releases 5-Year Business Plan

Nathan Anderson with Union Pacific said, “We are in a position to be able to take on the additional incremental volume based on demand that we see coming through.”

Anderson said they have the trains and the manpower to handle the change. For now, it’s more a matter of finding those containers and loading them up.

“Most of these trains are about 100 cars long, 50 to 100 cars long, so we can be taking, you know, 300 trucks off the road every day if this really gets up and running,” Hedge explained.

This offers a peek into the Inland Port’s future as upcoming improvements would make the area a major hub for commerce in the Intermountain West.

It’s been a controversial idea, but Hedges believes there is a real value by bringing more products out here by rail.

“That’s a huge benefit. That takes a lot of the cost out of the system, but it really takes, it helps with our traffic issues and really helps with our air quality issues,” he said.

Hedge said there is a big push at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to get as many shipping containers out of there by the end of the weekend, which could, in turn, quickly bring a lot of the goods Utahns have been waiting for.

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Trains bound for Utah part of plan to fix crippled supply chain