News & Reviews News Wire Union Pacific to require upgraded locks on intermodal containers, trailers

Union Pacific to require upgraded locks on intermodal containers, trailers

By | October 6, 2022

Requirement for bolt or cable seals comes after high-profile intermodal thefts in LA area

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Yellow locomotive with train of trailers and containers
A short Union Pacific intermodal train heads east across Sherman Hill on Aug. 31, 2022. UP is increasing requirements for the seals used to lock intermodal containers and trailers. David Lassen

OMAHA — Union Pacific is increasing its requirements on how intermodal containers and trailers are locked in an effort to deter theft, the company has informed customers.

The 1/8-inch cable or bolt seals, required as of Dec. 5, “are designed to prevent entry to the intermodal container or trailer with ordinary seal removal techniques, such as bolt cutters,” the railroad said in its notification. The railroad’s terms and conditions reflecting the new requirement say UP has the right to reject any intermodal unit that is not properly sealed, and will not be responsible for claims of loss, damage, or delay for units that are not properly sealed at origin.

The move comes after the railroad experienced a high-profile, high-visibility problem with repeated thefts from intermodal trains in the Los Angeles area last year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom eventually made an appearance to help with the cleanup in an area where thieves ransacked stopped trains, littering the area with discarded packaging, and announced a program to provide state funding to bolster law enforcement action to address the problem [see “California governor visits site of train thefts …,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 21, 2022]. The railroad has also been sued by an ocean shipper over the thefts [see “Union Pacific sued …,” News Wire, June 10, 2022].

9 thoughts on “Union Pacific to require upgraded locks on intermodal containers, trailers

  1. Los Angeles is not the only area that has problems with looters. The former SP Sunset route through New Mexico, rail yards in Chicago and other cities also have problems. Not sure 1/8 in cable will deter organized gangs.

  2. I do believe UP police were arresting people only to find them back out on the tracks looting several hours later

  3. It took some bad optics, lawsuits and a jump in insurance rates to get UP to mandate a change. Politics had little to do with it,

  4. Back in the day, a BOL gave the carrier the “Care, Custody, and Control” of the freight that was tendered. What changed?

  5. Newsom? Give me a break. Democrats are the exact, polar, 180-degree opposite of law enforcement.

    As one example, only one of many, California Democrats under Newsom have virtually decriminalized shoplifting.

    Stronger locks aren’t the answer. The answer is law enforcement, which will never happen as long as Newsom is governor. The only thing stronger locks will accomplish is to help inoculate the railroad against liability for the thefts.

    1. This is a junior-high level generalization. Truly unwarranted in a container discussion and untruthful in its stereotype. And reflects a Fox viewer mentality wherein a convenient narrative is most important, not truth. And bereft of corroboration.

    2. I live in California. We are rapidly becoming like Mexico under one political party’s dominance ever since Schwarzenegger left office in January 2009: corrupt and inept.

      We encouraged to buy electric cars, but the electric grid is rapidly being gutted of reliable coal and gas fired power plants, in favor of solar and wind farms. Trouble is the sun does not shine at night, nor does the wind regularly blow 24/7. Batteries are unavailable. So, during our recent heat wave, they told us not charge our electric vehicles, which very few except for the rich elites can afford to buy. How are we going to power up the electrified CalTrain next year and the future HSR some day? By 2025 the Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant is scheduled to be moth-balled! It supplies about 10% of the state’s electricity. It should be the text book example of reliable “green” energy! Sadly I foresee 3rd world power rationing in our not too distant future.

      The scene where our Governor made his PR trash pickup photo-opp some months back is in LA County, whose chief law enforcement officer acts like a public defender, and just as when the cat is away, the mice are playing. Hopefully he will be recalled this November, and his replacement will prosecute all criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

      Regarding UP’s policy, if I were their customer, I would have been asking why they left their trains unattended in a crime ridden area without some of their own police officers to stand guard?

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