Shipment delays plaguing the freight industry

Delays, delays delays. We know it’s a chronic issue plaguing our client shipments that started in late December. When we stop and think about why, it’s a mixed bag: strategic shipments to try avoid proposed tariff increases, horrible winter weather with extreme cold and snow, Chinese New Year and more snow.

We took a drive north to Chicago from Indianapolis last week to see the situation and meet with our partner companies.

Here are a few chronic problems at the ramps we saw for ourselves. We will continue to communicate with our customers about the situation and are meeting to discuss creative solutions to the situation.

  • BN – Elwood:  They have started handling 53’ domestic intermodal trailers along with international containers. This has caused severe congestion with all the additional work the ramp has to do
  • Global four – Joliet:  They no longer put containers on chassis. They ground the containers in stacks.  Many times containers get buried, so truckers can’t get to them. They have to reschedule for another day.
  • Global four – Joliet: The ramps are emphasizing unloading the containers as quickly as possible when trains arrive. Workers who would normally be lifting containers on chassis for truckers stop to work the inbound train and then drivers get stuck waiting for the trains to be worked.
  • Overall congestion caused by heavy imports and CNY.
  • Chassis problems.  Many times the chassis depots run out of workable chassis; so truckers can’t get the chassis to pick up the container.
  • Cold weather. Last week during the sub-zero temps, the cranes froze that means no lifting containers on the chassis for the day.
  • CN – Harvey now seems to be the best overall ramp. That’s a far cry from a few years ago when truckers either refused to go to Harvey or were charged $250 fee just to go to the ramp.  Also, there is no relief from the demurrage fees…last free day is the last free day; ramps don’t give you a break if they cause the delay in getting your container out of the ramp on time.


Thanks for your continued patience and trust in our team.

John Rowe

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