Growth with adversity.
Subscribe to Inside Track
Those three words may best describe 2021 for Union Pacific Railroad and its employees.
From extreme weather to supply chain congestion, Union Pacific overcame its fair share of challenges, all while successfully executing on a growth strategy that produced record-setting financial results in the second and third quarter.
The year was a testament to the power of teamwork and the ability of Union Pacific employees to overcome challenges with agility and creativity.
Time and time again, Mother Nature threw curveballs and time and time again, Union Pacific employees stepped up and quickly and efficiently restored service, honoring our commitment to our customers and underscoring our pivotal role in the global supply chain.
We battled through Winter Storm Uri in February, Hurricane Ida in August and September and the Dixie and Lava wildfires in Northern California. Employees coordinated across departments to reroute trains and rebuild track and bridges faster than expected; our crews repaired and reopened the Dry Canyon Bridge in northern California a month ahead of schedule.
The same intensity and commitment we brought to deal with natural disasters, we brought to bear on the supply chain issues that engulfed the nation. Union Pacific may be just one piece of the supply-chain puzzle, but we stepped up and took on a leadership role, working with ocean carriers and shippers – those who make up the critical first and last miles – to find creative solutions to help ease congestion.
We reopened shuttered intermodal terminals, increased gate access for truck drivers to 24/7 at our ICTF in Long Beach, California, and provided financial incentives for each container that our customers in-gated on the weekend.
We did all of this, while continuing to battle through the second year of a Pandemic that put Union Pacific and its employees on the frontline after the White House issued a vaccine mandate for all federal contractors. While legal activity has put the mandate on hold, Union Pacific continues to encourage employees to report their vaccination status and to be fully vaccinated.
But 2021 wasn’t all about Mother Nature, the Pandemic and supply chain challenges.
Union Pacific also managed to have a little fun. After sitting out a year due to COVID-19, the famed Big Boy No. 4014 locomotive went out on tour, traveling across 10 states and giving more than 400,000 visitors a firsthand look at a living piece of railroad history.
It was also a year filled with technological strides, as we continued to find new ways to make our railroad safer and more efficient, including improved applications for the Harriman Dispatching Center, our trucking partners, and our field crews via CADX, UPGo, Intermodal Vision and DigiCrew.
Union Pacific also continued to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most notably, we published our first comprehensive Climate Action Plan, outlining our approach to reduce our environmental impact and respond to emerging risks affecting the rail industry. As part of that, we announced that we are committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
We understand that a new year will bring new challenges. That’s guaranteed. But 2021 made it clear that Union Pacific is not only ready to meet those challenges as a team, we are poised to continue growing our business and to create wins for our customers, communities, shareholders and employees.