Midwest rail disruption continues

The ever-worsening ocean freight congestion has lead railroad companies to take extreme methods to catch up on the backlog of containers coming from the US west coast. UP called for a container embargo on all eastbound containers coming from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Oakland, and Tacoma to their Global IV yard in Chicago. BNSF dealt with the deluge by opening another lot, “Lot W” to hold containers that have been deramped before they’re staged for truck pick up.

Rail congestion has become such a sore spot in logistics that President Biden signed an Executive Order last week to have the FMC look into “a pattern of consolidation that stifles competition”. With both ocean and rail cargo facing mounting delays, skyrocketing fines, and severe congestion, the intervention is becoming urgent. Not every port is delayed though. We have options for routing cargo that bypass the worst of the crunch. The east coast also has warehouse space and the southeast has even more.

The expectation that rates will normalize in 2022 has been abandoned. The best-case scenario sees normality in 2023. Airfreight options abound for those looking to expedite their freight. The cost difference is rapidly becoming negligible to ocean. But that idea isn’t new and air capacity grows tighter by the minute. The news reads dark, but all isn’t damaged in the logistics market.

With time and notice, flexibility and creativity, we can utilize alternate voyages or modalities to keep your cargo moving. Times are more complex but Nelson International is here to guide and help you. We can act as an advocate for your cargo, work to get you rates that won’t kill you, and help you plan the future of your logistics growth. Call your representative to hear how we can help!