The pandemic is still wrecking havoc on the supply chain—this time Union Pacific (UP) will halt all shipments of international containers from West Coast ports to its Chicago terminal starting this Sunday. The shutdown will last at least seven days.
The embargo should help the railroad clear a container backlog in its Global IV terminal. Labor shortages and pandemic-related restrictions have slowed loading and unloading times at customer facilities. This has led to chassis shortages and drayage capacity issues during a period of high demand. Some containers have been stuck for more than a month at Global IV. This, of course, leads to customers incurring excessive storage charges.
“Other railroads have also taken steps at various times this year to limit inbound volume congestion. We’re hoping UP’s decision to suspend trains helps our customers although it will create additional headaches for IPI shippers in the near term,” said Joe Monaghan, Worldwide Logistics President and CEO.
As many as 40,000 twenty-foot units (TEUs) will be stuck at West Coast ports over the next week. That’s about 50 double-stock trains with 200 wells each and a 800 TEU capacity.
By suspending trains, UP hopes crews will be able to concentrate on using chassis to eliminate the stack over a weeklong shutdown. The service shutdown should also prevent a railcar shortage and a clearance of ocean container congestion in Chicago.
Any reservations already obtained in Long Beach will be honored, but no new reservations will be available from the four West Coast ports.
Contact your Worldwide Logistics Group representative for more information about Up’s shutdown or any concern regarding the pandemic’s effect on the supply chain.