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RIM makes every effort to exercise our due diligence when selecting carriers for our clients’ cargo. Whether by air, land or sea, we ask the questions to match the price, transit time and routing that makes the most sense. For ocean freight arriving on the west coast and moving inland, while we have a handful of ocean carriers to choose from, they select the underlying rail providers and there are only two choices – both of which are seriously underperforming shippers who need their goods at inland destinations. Owing to increased volumes and the holiday period, we’re seeing nearly untenable delays of a week or more to get cargo off a pier and on a train.

Los Angeles / Long Beach status:

Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen the turn times for truckers increase double-digit percentages with SSA Containers’ President Ed DeNike telling the Journal of Commerce it will take about two weeks to clear out. Rails are experiencing delays of upwards of a week in on-forwarding containers to intermodal destinations.

Expected were the usual closures for Christmas and New Year’s and the prevalence of casual versus veteran labor as many seasoned longshoremen took vacation during the holiday period. New this year was the crush to beat the January 1st potential tariff increase from China, plus the addition of extra loaders (unscheduled vessels) adding containers. The same JOC story (subscription required) quotes Fred Johring, president of Golden State Logistics, as having said that the local trucking community was told that the more than two-dozen extra loaders dumped an additional 90,000 containers in the ports.

 Chicago status:

As of late last week in Chicago, we have been advised that there were two cranes out of service at the UP’s Global 4 facility in Joliet. They are also only allowing containers out of the facility which have already been mounted on wheels or are on the top of a stack. We are also told that if a container is removed from its chassis for any reason, the container will be sent back to the stacks and rendered unavailable.

At the BN’s facility in Elwood, similar conditions exist with drivers spending a minimum of three to four hours attempting to retrieve and terminate loads.

Georgia status:

In Georgia, the Norfolk Southern has embargoed international intermodal containers from Charleston and Garden City to the ramp in Austell, just outside of Atlanta as of Monday morning, January 7th.