1980 - 1989
UPDS starts as Union Pacific Freight Services (UPFS), a team within Union Pacific Railroad’s Marketing & Sales department. Picture three employees in a tiny office working together to find backhaul freight to offset empty repositioning costs while bringing in new customers for the railroad. That’s where we began.
The first bundled rail/truck program, Arch Bi-Modal, launches. This initiative ships Idaho potatoes by rail to St. Louis, where they are transloaded to trucks and delivered to points east. Similar programs in Atlanta and Chicago soon follow. These programs lay the foundation for what will later become UPDS transload solutions.
UPFS absorbs Missouri Pacific Truck Lines as well as WPX, a Western Pacific subsidiary that runs a fleet of private, insulated trailers. What started as a three-employee department quickly grows to a formal business team.
1990 - 1999
UPFS has become the largest intermodal food shipper for UP. But we don’t stop at food. As UP’s automotive portfolio begins to grow, UPFS begins serving auto parts customers. By the early 1990s, shipping intermodal auto parts becomes a core focus, and begins what today is known as our Intermodal team.
UPFS begins offering its OnePlus program to help more companies take advantage of rail. This program bundles transloading services with rail at a single price, making it easier for customers to incorporate rail.
UPFS officially becomes Union Pacific Distribution Services (UPDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Pacific charged with serving non-rail-served customers, becoming more competitive as an intermodal marketing company and helping customers realize the benefits of rail. Employees from St. Louis move to Omaha to unite the team.
As Union Pacific merges with Southern Pacific, UPDS integrates TSSI and SP Logistics, two Southern Pacific subsidiaries, into its portfolio. SP Logistics becomes the foundation for what is now known as UP Carrier Services.
The Rail Source Logistics team is created to enhance the railroad experience of carload customers. This forms the basis for today’s UPDS Logistics team.
2000 - 2009
The Sail 2 Rail program is introduced with the purpose of linking by rail the Gulf and West Coast ports with North American markets and simplifying the import of steel, paper and lumber products into the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Movement Tracker is launched, integrating real-time tracking data with customer systems. For the first time, customers can log into their own systems and access tracking information.
Transload Bill of Lading — commonly known as TBOL — is launched. This web-based technology allows customers to initiate a shipment order for rail, transloading and trucking in a single transaction.
The Wind 2 Rail program brings wind components to the railroad. This innovative product includes full-service logistics, rail clearances and the creation of distribution centers for final delivery of wind towers and components. Today, the program has grown to include more than 40 distribution centers.
In 2007, the Transportation Supplier Dashboard — TSD for short — launches. This world-class supplier portal automates the billing and payment process for our suppliers.
UPDS relocates to Union Pacific Center, the headquarters for Union Pacific Railroad, allowing for greater visibility in and deeper strategic relationships with the railroad. As a major educational benefit, the move encourages more cycling of UP employees in and out of UPDS, furthering the knowledge of network extension within UP.
In 2008, Border Solutions also debuts, providing accurate shipment documentation and enhancing U.S.-to-Mexico rail car customs clearance. As a result, UPDS helps freight move more efficiently across the border and in turn, helps customers expedite their shipments.
UPDS fully adopts ShipmentVision as our shipment visibility platform and takes on all future development of the software, which was previously handled by Transcentric.
2010 - Present
UPDS Carload Solutions launches its first railport, a UPDS-managed transload facility on UP-owned or leased property. To do so, UPDS supplies the transload assets and hires reputable transload operators to offer a premium transload package to the marketplace. The first railport is located in Santa Fe Springs, California. Months later, another opens in Shreveport, Louisiana. Over the next five years, nine more railports follow.
Several new services also launch in 2010. The Copper Connection program offers door-to-door service that connects copper producers in the western United States and Mexico to fabricators throughout North America. The Pipeline Express program also launches, expediting line pipe shipments from pipe manufacturers to pipe off-loading sites across the country for final delivery by truck.
And a new application, Supplier Profile System (SPS), enables customers to find transload options via the UPDS website.
Railports in Big Spring, Texas, Tacoma, Washington, and Denver open.
UP Transportation Services Canada Corporation is created so UPDS can operate in Canada and extend our network further.
Plant to Port, a transportation and transload service delivering dried distillers grains (DDGs), grain and grain products from the Midwest to Southern California, is born. This export program is the first of its kind, shipping hopper car unit trains of DDGs to a UPDS transload facility in Yermo, California, transloading product into ocean containers and then transporting them in double-stack intermodal trains to Union Pacific-served, on-dock terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
On the intermodal side, Chrysler presents UPDS with the 2011 Chrysler Partnership Award for our commitment as a supply chain partner and our cost saving initiatives, including transit reduction, truck conversion and supplier coordination.
Railports open in Galena Park, Texas, and Portland, Oregon.
ShipmentVision NexGen debuts, featuring upgrades that allow for more accurate data capture and transform ShipmentVision from a rail-centric visibility tool into a multi-modal tracking tool. This system serves as the backbone of our current logistics services offering.
This same year, UPDS also launches the Quote Management System (QMS), a new pricing tool that allows customers to request a rate online.
Railports open in Dallas and Las Vegas.
Union Pacific purchases an existing transload facility at West Colton, California, which UPDS rebrands and opens as a railport.
UPDS completes construction of the Odessa Railport, our first built from the ground up. The Odessa Railport combines expert pipe and bulk transloading operations with direct Union Pacific Railroad service, delivering efficient freight transportation solutions in the Permian Basin.
Nissan awards UPDS the Zero-Emission Leadership Award, which recognizes us for strengthening the company’s service parts distribution network by converting Nissan service parts shipments from truck to rail and reducing Nissan's carbon footprint.
UPDS receives the 2016 SmartWay Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being an industry leader in freight supply chain environmental performance and energy efficiency.
UPDS appoints Marty Huff as general director - Intermodal and Aaron Evans as general director - Carload Solutions, together bringing nearly 50 years of transportation experience to the UPDS leadership team.
UPDS has evolved over the years — and continues to grow to provide the best service in the industry. From humble beginnings to offering customized solutions to our customers, here’s a brief retelling of our history.