March 8, 2021 - -
Chassis equipment providers are warning importers, some of whom have been waiting to retrieve their containers for almost a month, that it could be another couple of weeks before cargo flow returns to normal at Dallas-Fort Worth rail ramps following February’s massive winter storm.
Snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and power outages closed rail terminals, distribution centers, and trucking operations across the US South and Midwest in mid-February, causing containers to pile up in Southern California, the top origin of marine cargo in Texas.
It’s taken longer to recover because chassis are already in short supply in California, New Jersey, New York, and in rail cities such as Chicago and Memphis, leaving few locations with spare equipment, according to chassis providers. The delays are costly for beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) paying railroads to store containers that are unavailable for pickup and with little information forthcoming about when those boxes might become available.
“In comparison to past storms, the combination of record volumes and the impact of storms in several regions has certainly added to the complexity involved in restoring chassis availability levels [in Dallas-Fort Worth],” DCLI said in a statement to “We expect it could take a couple more weeks before we fully return to normal operations.”
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