In 2023, Union Pacific Railroad surpassed its own records in rock transportation, achieving a historic milestone. The company reported transporting 352,000 carloads of rock, a slight increase from the 2006 record and marking a significant 23% rise from 2021 and 9% from 2022.
This achievement is a result of Union Pacific's focus on the booming construction sector in Texas and the Gulf Coast. The company has been proactively expanding its network, establishing new sites for unloading rock trains and sourcing from various quarries to supply these areas.
The rock carried by Union Pacific is essential for various construction projects, including laying foundations for homes and commercial buildings, and constructing and maintaining roads and highways. A significant portion of this rock is also contributing to the development of new LNG facilities on the Gulf Coast.
Texas, experiencing significant population growth, second only to South Carolina and Florida, has seen a substantial part of this rock transit. The majority of these shipments originated and concluded within the southern segment of Union Pacific's network, spanning from San Antonio/Austin to Houston and the Dallas region.
The trains are usually comprised of 100 wagons, with each trainset replacing approximately 400 semitrailer trucks and thus offering an environmentally friendlier option of transportation in a country, where transport emissions increased by 1.6% in 2023.