Polar Vortex: A summary of special notices

Freight ForwardingOur partners are preparing for historic and dangerous cold temps that will affect your shipments. This is coupled with snow storms expected to move through the Midwest. Air, rail and trucking partners are all taking precautions to ensure their employee and your cargo shipment safety.

We’re receiving special notices and will continue to pass along information to you through our email updates, this blog and social media pages. Be sure you like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to be kept up to date.

As of 1-31-19:

5:15 p.m. A CN notice says: (We are) still experiencing severe cold weather conditions in our Canadian and U.S. Midwest rail network. While the Southern Parts of our network will experience a warming trend, severe weather is still moving through the Canadian portions of our network. For customers, we encourage you to factor additional transit times and potential bunching of traffic into your planning.

A logistics partner in Chicago says there are currently railroad gate closures and restrictions for Chicago inbound and outbound freight.

2:30 p.m. We’ve heard from United with a special notice about restrictions on freight and mail through United’s ORD air freight hub. Read here.

11 a.m. We are waiting to hear from various partner companies on their status via special notices. Our conversations so far today…

  • Chicago is still pretty much shut down. It’s currently -11 with continued dangerous wind chill warnings and reported temps at O’Hare at -21 with wind chill factored.
  • The Chicago forecast today calls for a high of 0 and a 50% chance of snow.
  • Customs is closed again today in Chicago and Detroit.
  • Several of our trucking dispatch partners say they are going to try to go the office this afternoon and start the trucks. They aren’t calling in the drivers yet.  There is still too much of a risk.

As of this morning (1-19-19, 10:30 a.m.), here’s a summary of what we have received:

  • Vision Logistics, a trucking partner in Chicago, says, “The risk of something really bad happening is just too great.” They’re shutting down tomorrow. Forecast temps in Chicago predict a low of -25 degrees (that’s without the wind chill factored in). The message to us stresses: Fuel is blended to work at -30, but that’s not guaranteed.
  • CN’s rail network in Canada and the Midwest are already impacted. Crews and locomotives have been moved to key locations. CN says it is committed to moving goods “safely and quickly.” The notice continues saying, “we encourage you to factor additional transit times and potential bunching of traffic into your planning.”
  • BNSF says operating divisions impacted have implemented winter action plans to ensure workforce safety. The cold creates challenges for train braking systems due to reduced air flow. Just as CN has done, train lengths are being reduced to ensure safety.
  • Norfolk Southern says Winter Storm Jaden is impacting its Chicago inter-model facilities with declines in drayage support. Temporary lane closures take effect tonight at 5 p.m. impacting domestic and international loaded shipments. Additional lane closures may be required depending on the storm’s impact.
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