West Coast Ports

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle about 40 percent of U.S. imports from Asia, will spend more than $7 billion in the coming decade on larger, more efficient terminals and improved connectivity to rail and highway networks.

To prevent an erosion of their market share to East Coast ports, L.A.-Long Beach, along with the ports of Seattle-Tacoma and Oakland, are striving to improve their efficiency at unloading vessels, moving containers through their yards, and expediting the departure of containers by truck and intermodal rail.

Recording a rate of about 25 container moves per crane per hour, West Coast port operations are under pressure to increase those numbers to at least 30 moves per hour. Terminal operators are exploring options for automating yard, gate and on-dock rail operations. The busiest terminals will invest in costly equipment such as dual-hoist cranes, automated guided vehicles and automated stacking cranes.

At the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, billions of dollars in new investments will make it possible to deal with the surges that have frustrated shippers and truckers. The biggest infrastructure impact in the immediate future will come from completion this year of the $1.5 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project in Long Beach. Meanwhile, Oakland Portal, launched in 2018, is a digital collaboration platform that provides information on vessel schedules, cargo status, and live camera views of local roadways in the Oakland, California area. The newest feature provides average turn times for the most recent 30-minute period.

Top unions split on tentative agreement with US rails

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Nov 21, 2022, 2:38 PM EST

Lawmakers in Washington will face pressure to bridge the divide between rail labor and management because any job action could snarl supply chains in the weeks leading up to end-of-year holidays.
North-American rail

UP to lift demurrage caps at seven inland terminals

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Nov 21, 2022, 1:07 PM EST

Union Pacific Railroad will no longer cap storage fees at seven inland ramps beginning next week, citing declining import volumes on the West Coast that has restored more typical cargo flow.
North-American rail

UP battling box congestion at Chicago, Dallas terminals

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Nov 16, 2022, 4:04 PM EST

UP is navigating congestion as ocean containers pile up in stacks in Chicago and Dallas, but the western US railroad believes it will clear the backlog at both terminals before the end of the year.
North-American rail

BNSF struggles persist for international loads in Chicago

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Nov 7, 2022, 3:11 PM EST

Congestion continues at BNSF’s Logistics Park Chicago terminal as chassis shortages have led to prolonged turn times for truckers using LPC or other BNSF spillover lots.
North-American rail

Lower LA-LB imports help BNSF clear Dallas congestion

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Nov 4, 2022, 12:50 PM EDT

With softer import volumes coming from Los Angeles-Long Beach, BNSF has made significant progress clearing the backlog of ocean containers at its Dallas-area terminal and hopes to restore normal conditions within weeks.
North-American rail

UP ‘confident’ rail labor issues will be resolved without strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Oct 21, 2022, 1:05 PM EDT

The rank-and-file of the US’s third-largest rail union rejected a tentative deal hammered out last month, raising fears of a crippling strike just days before Thanksgiving.
North-American rail

J.B. Hunt says US supply chain remains slow, but worst could be over

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Oct 19, 2022, 2:30 PM EDT

J.B. Hunt believes BNSF Railway’s service has improved in recent weeks, which could lead to faster turns of containers and lower costs for shippers; but when that happens is still an open question.

Confidence waning as ports, rails prepare for strike

JOC Staff | Sep 14, 2022, 4:23 PM EDT

While railroad management and unions were meeting with US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to avert a strike, confidence is waning as shippers, railroads, and ports prepare for a shutdown early Friday.
North-American rail

Pressure building in Washington to avert rail strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 13, 2022, 4:37 PM EDT

All eyes turned to Washington amid the realization that a rail strike disrupting the already fragile US supply chain six weeks before crucial midterm elections would not be helpful to the White House and Congressional Democrats.
North-American rail

Talks continue as railroads plan to halt operations

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 12, 2022, 5:06 PM EDT

Shippers are in a wait-and-see mode as the obstacle to a deal with the country’s two largest rail unions is about lifestyle concerns rather than compensation, a source close to the negotiations told JOC.com.
North-American rail

US railroads to begin cutting service as deal with biggest unions remains elusive

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 9, 2022, 7:23 PM EDT

The stakes are high for a rail labor deal to be reached because the Association of American Railroads estimates that a strike would cost the US economy $2 billion per day, while a disruption would be a political liability for the Biden administration.
North-American rail

Lack of parts, labor to extend US chassis shortages into 2024

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 12, 2022, 4:32 PM EDT

North American chassis manufacturers expect to fall well short of their production goals this year despite widespread equipment shortages that have exacerbated congestion in key ports and inland hubs.

UP giving partial rebates for Lathrop–Oakland shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 9, 2022, 3:26 PM EDT

Union Pacific Railroad will issue a partial rebate on intermodal loads in Northern California to help defray the cost of moving boxes between Lathrop to Oakland starting next month.
North-American rail

Kansas City rail congestion building for second straight year

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 3, 2022, 4:06 PM EDT

Rail terminals are congested for the second consecutive year in Kansas City, causing truckers and importers to lash out at BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
North-American rail

BNSF, UP metering inland containers from LA-LB

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jul 25, 2022, 3:36 PM EDT

BNSF and UP are metering containers from Southern California to avoid another intermodal meltdown like last summer, but the move is causing some import boxes to sit for six weeks or longer.
North-American rail

Slipping US intermodal performance linked to warehouse capacity crunch

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jul 12, 2022, 4:07 PM EDT

US warehouse woes are now showing in lower train speeds and on-time performance among Class I railroads, as stakeholders turn up the heat on retailers for not retrieving their cargo fast enough from depots and terminals.
North-American rail

UP realigning intermodal network ahead of Northern California expansion

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 30, 2022, 12:02 PM EDT

Union Pacific Railroad will temporarily re-align its domestic intermodal network in Northern California to accommodate a construction project meant to expand container capacity in the region ahead of Schneider National bringing more volume in 2023.
North-American rail

Containers clog BNSF Dallas terminal amid lack of chassis

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 27, 2022, 12:30 PM EDT

BNSF Railway is stacking ocean containers outside Dallas as cargo owners struggle to unload inventory in a timely manner and chassis providers scramble to reposition equipment sent to Houston earlier this year.
North-American rail

BNSF addressing congestion in Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 27, 2022, 4:25 PM EDT

BNSF Railway is congested in Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City with not enough chassis to move ocean containers, but the railroad is taking several measures to alleviate the congestion.
North-American rail

UP says marine chassis supply is thin, stacking boxes necessary

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 27, 2022, 4:13 PM EDT

Union Pacific Railroad is warning that chassis supply could get tight soon in several US markets and it will not allow shippers to use their own private chassis if DCLI, TRAC Intermodal, and Flexi-Van Leasing run out of equipment.
North-American rail