The nation’s largest railroad is taking over the massive fresh fruit and vegetable shipping operation in the Rotterdam Corporate Park.
Union Pacific announced it has acquired the refrigerated and cold-storage facilities of Railex in Rotterdam; Wallula, Washington; and Delano, Calif. Railex employs the full-time equivalent of about 300 employees in Rotterdam, which is the eastern terminus of a high-speed rail operation delivering fresh produce from warmer climates to the Northeast.
Railex Wine Services, which also has a presence in Rotterdam, was not part of the UP acquisition.
Railex also has a small headquarters office in downtown Schenectady.
Union Pacific indicated in a news release that Railex would continue to manage the facilities during a transition period as they are integrated into UP’s operations.
No local impact on the local workforce or the headquarters operation was indicated in the UP news release. Railex officials deferred comment to UP; UP did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Railex opened its Rotterdam terminal in autumn 2006 with an innovative model to reach an ambitious goal: Race refrigerated carloads of fresh food from areas where it can be harvested all year round to an area where it can’t: The Northeast. The trains stop only for refueling and crew changes, and they cross the country much more quickly than conventional railroad transportation would in most cases.
When the train arrives in Rotterdam, a small army of workers with dozens of forklifts moves pallets of food off the train and into a 225,000-square-foot climate-controlled warehouse for delivery to retailers and distributors.
In its news release, UP praised the model Railex has created and said it already plays a key role in the Union Pacific Food Network.
UP is the nation’s largest railroad by market capitalization.
In 2015, it operated 32,100 route miles of track in the western two-thirds of the nation. It reported net income of $4.5 billion on net revenue of $21.8 billion. It paid 44,500 employees $4.6 billion. Its 8,500 locomotives consumed 1 billion gallons of fuel hauling freight nearly 1 trillion gross ton-miles.
Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen said Thursday it has been a good 10 years for the company and for the area — Railex employs hundreds of people here and paid more than $561,032 in local taxes in 2016, its sliding-scale payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement having expired.
“Railex selected Schenectady County over dozens of competing sites,” Gillen said. “The company’s innovative and green approach to transportation has created jobs, tax base and [brought] very positive attention to the Rotterdam Corporate Park. We look forward to working with Union Pacific, the leading freight railroad in the United States.”
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