Client and Shippers need to be aware that there is currently pressure on the North American intermodal market partly due to a shortage of truck capacity.
Recent developments such as increased regulatory control of driver hours by electronic means (ELD’s), lagging wages, driver shortages due to retirement and better work opportunities, and increased imports are the most significant factors. Additionally, in certain geographies, weather such as hurricanes in the South East and Gulf, severe cold/winter conditions across much of the upper tier of the country, have also contributed to the difficulties. In addition, the rail system is becoming more congested due to containers not being taken timely off the ramps, in addition to train lengths being shortened due to the severe cold.
Shipping lines are redirecting resources towards seeking increased truck capacity and dispatching containers earlier to improve our chances of getting truck power at the appropriate time. Although we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact, delays are unavoidable and as such extra allowances should be considered when planning lead times.
Note that all shipping lines are impacted from these issues and it may take several months for this situation to improve.
If you have any questions regarding the above please feel free to contact your account manager.