Container Embargo On USWC To The Chicago Global IV Terminal In Chicago Starts This Weekend

Jul 16, 2021Market Advisory

UP has announced a container embargo on USWC to the Chicago Global IV terminal in Chicago starting Sunday, July 18th, for up to a week to alleviate the backlog of containers waiting at the terminal. Experts predict this will exacerbate the massive bottleneck of containers coming out of the US West Coast ports where congestion, record imports, social distancing, and pandemic regulations reduced labor availability. Now, weather issues and fires have wrought further havoc on throughput.

While UP isn’t the first railroad to take steps to reduce incoming containers to play catch up on backlogs this year, the timing of the embargo and the critically tight capacity at west coast warehouses threatens to snap the supply chain. BNSF has added a new stack lot, “Lot W,” to work as a transitional space for containers between deramping and staged for pickup. While containers are in “Lot W,” they are not available for recovery, and there’s no information available for how much time containers will be waiting in “Lot W.” 

Steamship lines, truckers, and forwarders are all alerting their clients to the delays that are going to come from this embargo, hoping to prepare everyone involved for the delays and issues to come. 

HMM steamship line has announced that in light of the embargo, “There will be some restrictions on new bookings from Asia to Chicago destinations in order to clean up any already in-transit cargoes.”

In a July 1st advisory, UP stated, “The international intermodal supply chain continues to experience congestion related to high demand and constrained capacity, particularly drayage and warehouse operations in major markets. Union Pacific has strived to maximize container shipments between ports and inland ramps, but available parking space at Chicago’s Global 4 ramp has been consumed due to slow outbound drayage processing.” That slow outbound drayage is attributed to a lack of chassis available. It’s expected that between 2,000 and 3,000 containers currently sit without chassis. 

TOC Logistics, again, cautions our readers that the delays arising from this closure will be impacting far more than just the cargo waiting at the Chicago Global IV terminal, and every attempt should be made to plan shipments with as much advance notice as possible to circumvent the congestion. We’re in a critical time for our industry as the impacts of the wildfires on the west coast hit our most congested port. We remain concerned that the west coast will again, ahead of peak season, fall behind on moving cargo inland.

Your TOC Logistics representatives are working hard to keep your cargo moving in the face of these delays, and we appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work to do so.


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