The US rail company, Union Pacific has confirmed the suspension of rail shipments from the US West Coast, which starts today, on 18 July.
In particular, Union Pacific will halt all the eastbound movements from the West Coast Port Terminals moving to its Global IV facility in Chicago for around a week. The suspension includes containers from the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland in California and the port of Tacoma in Washington.
"We believe this change will allow the transportation supply chain to begin working off the backlog of Global IV destined trains, while freeing up railcar assets to support import loading needs on the West Coast," said Robynn Tysver, Union Pacific's representative.
"We are working closely with the ocean carriers and collaborating wherever possible to improve the health of the supply chain," she added.
During the period of suspension, cargo will be held at marine terminals until the suspension is lifted, according to Union Pacific's partner, Hapag-Lloyd.
Container processing at port terminals in Southern California has increased and Union Pacific’s rail shipments to and from the ports have risen and are near record highs, according to Robynn Tysver, who told Container News that "Union Pacific is concurrently experiencing significant congestion at our inland intermodal terminals, most notably in Chicago."
Recently, Union Pacific held an ocean carrier symposium to discuss the supply chain challenges, identify areas of constraint, and review actions to relieve congestion.
One solution the Nebraska-headquartered railroad operator has offered has been opening its Global III facility as an interim import container storage location.
"Union Pacific has also acknowledged the difficulties for ocean carriers and drayage companies by capping storage fees at our Global IV facility for loaded units that are stacked and awaiting out-gate," said Tysver, who pointed out that, "We believe these positive steps will alleviate some of the considerable challenges supply chain participants are facing."