BNSF, UP battling growing congestion pressures in Chicago
3 Jun 2021
The two western US Class I railroads are running low in space in Chicago amid another surge in imports over the last eight weeks, struggling to find solutions to satisfy the growing impatience of truckers, importers, exporters, and port officials.
Each stakeholder has a different set of concerns and some even conflict with one another, making it increasingly difficult for BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) to find a solution that pleases everyone.
Trucking companies want quicker turns inside the terminals, seeking to combat an alarming rate of driver turnover because a drop in driver productivity has caused their paychecks to decline in 2021. Importers are facing increased storage charges, a form of demurrage, and no short-term solutions to prevent these accessorial fees. Marine terminal operators in Southern California are concerned about not getting enough well cars to transfer containers from vessels to trains.
“I’m not sure that the stakeholders that are micro-focused on their port terminals have a good perspective of the entire supply chain dynamic,” Tom Williams, group vice president of consumer products for BNSF Railway, told JOC.com. “We desperately want to free up cars to get back to the ports. And I'm not trying to point fingers because this is a global supply chain challenge.”