Railex produce business is booming

03/22/2013 02:33:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Business is rolling along for Railex LLC, the Rotterdam, N.Y.-based company that, in partnership with the Union Pacific Railroad and CSX Transportation, transports produce from the West Coast to the East Coast in 64-foot refrigerated railcars with enhanced insulation, energy-efficient cooling systems and GPS monitoring for proper temperature control.

The unit trains carry a wide range of products, including citrus, grapes, melons, tree fruit, potatoes and onions, said Steve Poindexter, director of business trade development and national accounts.

Service began between Wallula, Wash., and Rotterdam in 2006, and the company launched a line between New York and Delano, Calif., two years later.

Railex uses 55% less carbon and 55% less fuel than over-the-road transportation, Poindexter said.

To date, Railex has reduced carbon emissions by more than 1 million metric tons, reduced fuel consumption by more than 51 million gallons and eliminated about 324 million over-the-road miles, he said.

“We continue to grow 20% to 25% a year,” he added.

Railex plans to open a southern route next fall from California and Washington to northern Florida or southern Georgia.

Railex can optimally serve companies within a 250-mile radius of its facilities, he said.

Using Railex, a shipper could send a full load of produce to a Railex facility, and Railex can deliver product to as many customers as the client wants, he said, and even do it on different days.

Railex unit trains run on a consistent schedule, he said.

In early February, the company recently completed a 500,000-square-foot facility in Washington to complement its existing building.

“We warehouse for people at all locations,” Poindexter said.

If a grower’s warehouse is full, he can use a Railex location to store overflow and ship via train or other means.

Shippers also can use Railex facilities for forward distribution, putting say, 20 loads in New York and selling out of that inventory for next-day delivery, Poindexter said.

“A shipper could carry inventory in New York versus California,” he said.

Railex offers five-day service on Wednesdays and Fridays.



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