BNSF restricts flow of containers from LA and Long Beach to Chicago
FORT WORTH, Texas – BNSF Railway is limiting the flow of international containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to its Logistics Park Chicago intermodal terminal for two weeks to clear a backlog of boxes that has built up in the Windy City.
“The BNSF measures the traffic coming from the west coast to try to manage it as well as possible. The rate of containers offered to us on the West Coast continues to exceed the rate of outbound Logistics Park Chicago, ”said railroad spokeswoman Amy Casas. “We are confident in our ability to process and offload volume at the rate we see demand on the West Coast, provided there is adequate capacity to receive and exit that volume at destination. “
BNSF has extended off-terminal parking and increased lifting capacity by 20% in an effort to keep its terminals fluid in the midst of peak intermodal volume.
BNSF CEO Katie Farmer told the Surface Transportation Board last month that customers were taking up to two days longer than usual to unload containers and bring them back to intermodal terminals, which created a shortage of chassis.
“We are still seeing low exit rates, especially on weekends,” Casas said. “We continue to engage in a number of targeted efforts with our major ocean carriers, beneficial freight owners and the local trucker community to work together on this difficult supply chain issue.”
BNSF began limiting capacity eastward on Sunday.
Chicago is the largest single destination for cargo arriving at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, North America’s busiest port complex. The Port of Los Angeles handled a record volume of containers in June, while the neighboring port of Long Beach saw its volume decline in June from record levels in May.
Last week, Union Pacific announced that it would temporarily suspend all inbound international container movements from West Coast ports to its Global IV terminal in Chicago for a week. [See “Union Pacific suspends inbound international container shipments …,” Trains News Wire, July 14, 2021] .UP had to deal with the congestion in a slow turnaround time and hope that stopping the inbound movements will allow the terminal to recover.
Problems extend beyond LA-Long Beach
Shipping company MSC said an eastern rail partner was limiting container flow from the Port of New York and New Jersey to three domestic terminals: Chicago, Cleveland and Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, in Canada, container terminals at the Port of Vancouver have an import backlog due to fire-related line closures and operational restrictions affecting Canadian Pacific and Canadian National in their directional traffic zone in British Columbia.
CN appears to be doing worse than CP, according to an update from Port Vancouver today. CN had 289,888 images on the docks, half of which had remained on the docks for over a week. The rest have been waiting for a drive inland for five to seven days, depending on the port.
Images at CP’s dock stood at 49,795 feet, with most containers staying at the dock for up to three days, a condition the port calls “green.”