Union Pacific Railroad Temporarily Stopping Eastbound Container Service to Chicago

July 16, 2021

On July 18, 2021, at 2359 PST, Union Pacific Railroad is suspending import rail traffic from all US West Coast Marine Terminals (LA / Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma) for up to 7 days.

All shipments will be held at marine terminals until the suspension is lifted. The UP will actively reduce the rail backlog already en route or around the Chicago area during this time.

According to JOC, the emergency measures are considered necessary to redirect efforts toward the stack of ocean containers without chassis in UP Global IV. The size of the stack has fluctuated between 1,000 and 3,000 containers since May. Containers in the Global IV stack have been stuck for more than a month in several cases.

UP has recently changed its policy in the Global IV stack, capping storage fees at $2,450 per container, although importers remain frustrated about not getting their cargo.

The decision to suspend trains from the four West Coast ports will allow crews to concentrate on using chassis to eliminate the stack, possibly over a weeklong shutdown. The service suspension is not only about reducing the accumulation. It's also about preventing a railcar shortage and concentrating all efforts on clearing the ocean container congestion into Chicago.

To help mitigate the effect of the current congestion, it is critical for all customers to expedite the unloading of containers at local DC's and that all available empty containers are returned as quickly as possible to improve chassis velocity.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep our clients informed as frequently as possible.

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