Freight demand is booming in Utah. Utah is one of the nation’s fastest growing states and is situated in the fastest growing region in the country: the Intermountain West. As a major logistics hub for the Intermountain West, cargo movement is expected to double in Utah by 2045.
We need smart solutions that balance growth with quality of life. If we approach freight growth as “business as usual”—by focusing almost exclusively on truck-dependent cargo movement—both our quality of life and economy are at risk. Recognizing the need for a logistics system that reflects Utah values, UIPA is catalyzing innovative programs and partnerships to move goods smarter and more sustainably. One of these initiatives is the development of a state-of-the art, LEED-certified intermodal rail transload facility that consolidates international shipping containers to domestic containers and provides enhanced export opportunities for Utah shippers.
Transloading is a unique opportunity to lower shipping costs for Utah residents and businesses and to reduce air quality impacts and highway congestion with less reliance on moving cargo by truck.
A transload facility reduces logistics costs and provides export opportunities. Utah shippers are facing increasing costs and delays moving imports and exports to and from West Coast ports. They are also negatively impacted by an acute (and long-term) shortage of international shipping containers to move goods directly by rail from Utah to West Coast ports and eventually to global customers. At the proposed transload facility, the contents of inbound international containers would be transferred or ‘restuffed’ into larger domestic containers for movements to other parts of the U.S. Utah exporters would then utilize the empty international containers. The activity reduces total container volumes by a ratio of 3-to-2, providing more efficient and cost-effective rail shipments and reducing truck movements by keeping the domestic leg on the rail system. Consolidating shipments through transloading brings efficiency to the system and is an important step in supporting freight rail connections that provide lower logistics costs to Utah residents and shippers.
UIPA Transload Facility Concept:
Making intermodal rail operations more efficient. The proposed facility would leverage Union Pacific’s existing intermodal yard capacity and will not require capacity from a second rail yard. The facility would be one or two long, narrow buildings (depending on volumes) with dock doors on both sides – ensuring that cargo can quickly move in through one side of the building and into a waiting container on the other side. The proposed facility would not serve long-term warehousing storage or distribution. There is currently no dedicated transload facility like this in the region.
For every 300 international containers transloaded, 100 containers are taken out of the system.
The facility is smart and sustainable. The proposed facility must be constructed to LEED standards, require the use of electric cargo handling equipment, and offer zero-emission chargers on-site to attract and encourage Near-Zero and Zero-Emission trucks. Financially, the proposed facility must not require a long-term public subsidy, must be self-sustaining, and net revenue will be reinvested into additional smart and sustainable initiatives for the community.
Transloading fills a critical gap in
Utah’s freight transportation system.