Polar Vortex Brings Record Cold to Midwest
Temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast are forecast to be the coldest in a generation, if not on record. The life-threatening wind chills and frigid temperatures will be affecting transportation throughout much of the region.
Inland intermodal terminals have been experiencing extreme congestion due to the front-loading of imports before the increase in Section 301 tariffs. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach felt the initial congestion from the additional imports, but it has quickly spread to the inland markets. Many terminals have been experiencing chassis shortages, containers have been piling up, and warehouses are over capacity.
This storm can result in months of backlog on top of the current congestion. The extreme cold creates many challenges for operating cranes, yard hostlers, gate arms, and other equipment. The salt used to treat ice can damage the wiring on terminal equipment, causing additional delays. The sub-zero temperatures also affect the trains’ braking system due to reduced air flow.
BNSF released an advisory, warning customers of the “reduced production levels at [their] Chicago area facilities. Customers may also experience additional challenges with driver availability and slower turn times.”
With railroads having to restrict operations in many areas, the congested supply chain will continue to get worse before it gets better.
Some shippers have been waiting for weeks to have their cargo mounted on a chassis with no word on when it will be ready. Additionally, some terminals are no longer accepting empty containers and drivers are being diverted to different lots. The extreme weather will cause additional delays in the short term.
We ask for your patience at this time as many shippers and truckers are experiencing these challenges. For more information, please contact your Krieger Worldwide representative.