OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With superior network performance supported by the best average train speed among the four largest U.S. railroads, Union Pacific is uniquely poised to help its customers take advantage of the record grain harvest. Train speed measures cargo movement between rail terminals. The data are compiled by the Association of American Railroads.
"Excellent service is always important to customers, and we are committed to maintaining it even as we accommodate the need for transportation of additional grain," said Paul Hammes, vice president and general manager, Agricultural Products at Union Pacific. "The combination of Union Pacific's train speed performance and available grain car fleet translates into increased freight capacity for the railroad's agricultural customers."Following the 2012 drought, which significantly reduced crop production during 2012-2013, this year's corn crop has soared to a new national record. In the most recent crop supply and demand report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it expects 13.99 billion bushels of corn, up from the September forecast of 13.8 billion bushels. The previous record was 13.1 billion in 2009. The larger production and robust grain export markets will create much stronger demand for transportation during the 2013-2014 crop year compared to the previous crop year. Customer commitments for Union Pacific trains have increased accordingly, and the company shipped an all-time high number of grain trains to the Pacific Northwest in October. Union Pacific also is offering a six-month shuttle commitment program. Shuttle commitment programs allow qualifying customers to exclusively use train cars for a pre-determined amount of time, providing guaranteed capacity to these customers. Traditionally, shuttle commitment programs have required customers to commit annually. The six-month option offers the opportunity to use the train cars for a shorter time, allowing for greater flexibility during peak periods.