Delays expected for freight moving from the West Coast to Chicago
Railway company Union Pacific (UP) recently announced the eastbound rail suspension from all US West Coast ports to Chicago Global IV Terminal effective from Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 23:59 to improve fluidity and reduce backlog of Global IV.
"For a period of up to 7 days, all eastbound shipments to Global IV from any U.S. West Coast marine terminals will not be accepted. It will impact the delivery of on-board or discharged cargoes to Chicago, therefore, please expect delays. There will be some restrictions on new bookings from Asia to Chicago destinations, in order to clean-up any already in-transit cargoes," a notice from steamship line Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) said.
JOC.com reports that the railroad has confirmed the suspension from the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, and Tacoma and it applies to all of UP's ocean carrier partners.
“We believe this change will allow the transportation supply chain to begin working off the backlog of Global IV-destined trains, while freeing up railcar assets to support import loading needs on the West Coast,” UP said in a statement Thursday to JOC.com. “We are working closely with the ocean carriers and collaborating wherever possible to improve the health of the supply chain.”
The suspension reportedly entails customers shipping IPI 20-foot or 40-foot equipment, not customers using domestic 53-foot equipment, according to FreightWaves.
The service suspension is expected to cause major delays at West Coast ports which are already strained as retailers work to restock their inventories which were depleted during the pandemic, and keep up with consumer demand ahead of the holiday season.
According to Trains.com, around 40,000 TEUs will be stuck at the West Coast Ports over the next week due to the embargo.
“The biggest issue seems to be a shortage of pool chassis to support normal operations at this wheeled terminal,” said Intermodal analyst Larry Gross of the congestion at Global IV. “But I’m told that if a drayman shows up at Global IV with their own chassis to pick up a grounded box, they can’t get the box loaded.”
The embargo stems from congestion caused by pandemic-related shortages of labor and equipment, and the move is an attempt for the railway to clear the backlog as they aim to improve service levels and keep freight moving.
Check out these sources for more information on the topics discussed in this article.
- Ashe, A. (2021, July 15). "UP suspending USWC–Chicago hub services to clear Global IV boxes." JOC.com.
- Marsh, J. (2021, July 14). "UP temporarily stopping eastbound container service to Chicago." FreightWaves.
- Stephens, B. (2021, July 14). "Union Pacific suspends inbound international container shipments to Chicago for a week." Trains.com.