We have been through a lot the past 2 ½ years, worldwide. It is fair to assume that every person had a moment of agony during that time, so it can be hard for most of us to try to stay positive. It is far better to live in the mindset that things will not only just get better, but the future will be the best it ever was. Or at least fake it till you make it, it’s the holiday season! Try to feel the emotion of thankfulness at least once this holiday, and if you’re really struggling to feel it, I heard spiking your eggnog helps. But I wouldn’t know anything about that…
Last night I was researching about the upcoming Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen election and ended up going down a rabbit hole of reading about different Union stories through many decades, it is fascinating how much times change. There are no current updates until the November 17th election day, but we will keep hovering on this story, if there is no ratification, it will spell imminent danger for rail cargo. The union is giving rail companies until November 19th to renegotiate, setting up again the possibility of a rail strike.
I have many stories this week of rail delay – the dwell times are real, People! I have Dallas bound containers that should have hit the rail mid to late September, yet they are still hanging out in LA. The current rail dwell time is being stated as 7.3 days on average before containers are loaded on the rail, but really every day is a gamble. All freight is urgent, just some have different levels of urgency. Commodities have expiration dates, seasonal time frames and are needed for inventory production lines to keep running. Moving containers via rail may be the most cost effective, but what is the cost comparison if a production line goes down vs. opting to expedite freight with road transit – not to mention the stress of everyone involved. Average dwell time at the west coast ports for containers to be collected by truck is only 3.1 days, that’s already less than half the rail dwell time.
Not only is the timeline of rail movement unpredictable, but there is also no way to prioritize when a specific container will be grounded. Trains are not vessels and rail yards are not ports. In the “Rail World” no one has any control over making sure a specific container doesn’t hit a rail pile, where it will remain for a few more days before it is available to be picked up. I will always be a diehard promoter of transloading cargo for truck delivery over rail for any freight that has a crucial drop date, whenever there is even just a hint of long rail dwell time. It always ends up being worth it in the end, and we all love a happy ending.
TEU volumes decreased this week down 29.3% from last week, a relatively significant decrease. We will be rolling into November real soon. I consider myself a somewhat observant person this time of year because I love every fall and winter holiday. In the pre pandemic years, ya know, the good ol’ days that seemed like a million years ago, stores really got holiday stuff rolling out super-fast. This year there is a noticeable slow down. I am not sure if it is a supply shortage, if options and items are being downsized or discontinued, or if we are just slowing down time for the greater good of everyone’s sanity. I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on that. We could stand to slow down and enjoy life more.
What are the port hardships this week?
- Mobile Port of Mobile’s breakbulk operations Longshore workers are warning they are willing to strike after three prior contract proposals were rejected by members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1410. A strike could take place if a deal more than four years in the making, can’t be reached today October 20th before midnight. The ILA local is seeking an agreement ahead of an East and Gulf coast-wide deal between the union and maritime employers.
- Oakland Empty return appointment are nonexistent for some steamship lines, container yards are getting full and chassis inventories are getting slim.
What looks a positive this week?
- Savannah We are going to keep promoting how much we rock in Savannah! There are no backlogs at the terminals, and we can turn out your Savannah transloads with ease and loaded to outbound trucks the same day of transload. If you have any upcoming Savannah transload projects, contact us today to be put on our priority list.
- LA/LGB Volumes are down, Los Angeles Port reported September 2022 the lowest import volume since 2009, and Long Beach lowest volume since 2016. Volume is down but capacity is up, a really good time to consider diverting your rail containers for transloads.
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