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Container Congestion Update for USWC and Inland Rails

The US West Coast container terminals and inland rail terminals are facing significant delays; in some cases, delays are being measured in weeks.

The main delays from Los Angeles and Long Beach are due to the surge of imports back in December. This “surge” is now spreading inland.

The significant ocean container volume increases have had a domino effect on the local import infrastructure, causing delays with drayman availability, coupled with chassis shortages.

In addition, many trucking companies are using this opportunity to inflate local drayage rates to cover congestion-related waiting time and driver/employee cost inflation.

Rail yards are working diligently to clear the backlog by increasing capacity to lift containers, while chassis pool companies are doing their best to make more chassis available at the rail yards.

Please know that RIM logistics, ltd. is working diligently with our ocean carriers, port facilities, railroads and truckers to out-gate your freight as soon as possible.  The majority of these delays and infrastructure challenges are short-term and should be cleared up by the middle of February. Please understand that these issues have impacted our entire industry and are frustrating for all us.  Your patience and understanding regarding these delays is most appreciated.

As a reminder, please see the below message from the Union Pacific.

For those motor carriers that access international boxes, the following will apply:

Visibility Improvements

Early next week, we plan to provide visibility to which containers are stacked versus containers on chassis through some changes to our location reporting.

These changes will include the following:

  1. As you (or any other party on the container waybill) trace a container that is at an inland terminal, any boxes that are stacked will now show a parking location of “STACK.”
  2. You should NOT send drivers for any boxes in “STACK” status, as they will be unavailable for pickup.
  3. Once the stacked containers have been put on chassis and are available for pickup, the Union Pacific will re-notify the customer that the container is available for pickup.

Operational Changes

  1. Any drayage provider coming in with a chassis will be unable to pick up a stacked container (i.e., No “cherry-picking”).
  2. For any containers that are grounded, the Union Pacific will make its best effort to place the oldest containers on chassis first.

Temporary Storage Charge Changes

We recognize that the entire international intermodal supply chain is being challenged during this time of unprecedented freight. To support efficient movement of the most accessible freight, the Union Pacific will temporarily make a change to its storage program at current location, where we are stacking containers. Beginning at 12:01 AM on Monday, January 7, the Union Pacific will temporarily adjust our storage charge program at DIT, Marion, Global 4, Dupo, and Englewood to maintain a consistent $100 per day storage charge for all applicable chargeable days. Charges will not go up the $200 per day charge on the sixth chargeable day. The Union Pacific will maintain this approach as long as we deem necessary. We appreciate our customers working with us to continue to move freight as efficiently and quickly off the ramps as we can and will monitor each ramp on a customer basis.

The changes above currently only apply to marine containers at the international intermodal terminals addressed above. We will add other terminals as needed and inform you of any additional changes.

We appreciate your cooperation as we mutually work through this volume surge. We believe the changes we are making will help with your planning ability and ultimately, your customer experience.

— Union Pacific Premium Operations

Source: International Chassis Storage Update. (January 4, 2019). Retrieved from  https://www.up.com/customers/announcements/intermodal/allintermodal/IM2019-8.html.