Union Pacific Rail Congestion and Backlogs at Many U.S. Ports

We have been informed that Union Pacific (UP) rail ramps at Chicago (UP – Global 4) and Memphis (UP – Marion) are experiencing severe chassis shortages, leading to massive delays for truckers awaiting loads and unexpected costs for importers.

This news is just the latest development in a series of reported backlogs across U.S. ports and inland ramps stemming from the import surge that occurred as shippers booked in abundance to meet holiday deadlines and beat Chinese New Year (CNY) cut offs and potential Chinese Section 301 tariff increases. Delays are also a result of trucker shortages and containers being unavailable for pick up due to excessive container grounding on the ramps and at the piers.

As the situation unfolds, ocean carriers, chassis providers, terminals and ramp operators appear to be unwilling to take responsibility for the escalating crisis. In an all too familiar “blame game”, ocean carriers claim they lack control over chassis while the railroads and terminals refuse to take fault for their inability to flip the containers in a timely fashion.

At this time, though we continue to work diligently to move your cargo as efficiently as possible, we are advising all customers that storage fees appear to be imminent. We are also advising customers to steer clear of booking overweight cargo at the moment as overweight moves are being actively avoided by the truckers as they try to fill as many client obligations as possible for quicker legal weight moves.

Shapiro will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as they become available.