How Extreme Weather Affects Freight
Extreme weather and frigid temperatures are taking its toll on freight transportation, resulting in problems for shippers, railroads, and drayage truckers. The weather delays, train derailments, and port backlogs are compounded by the higher than normal freight volumes this month. “Drayage drivers in the Chicago area hit with record freezing temperatures have had to grapple with malfunctioning rigs, delaying the pick-up and drop-offs of loads at intermodal rail terminals and shipper’s distribution centers”, said Jason Hilsenback, President of LoadMatch & Drayage.com. “The cold has also hampered diesel-fueled cranes at intermodal terminals. The lack of extended ramp storage, along with a shortage of chassis, has also frustrated drayage drivers”, he said.
According to APL, the ports of New York and New Jersey have been closed two times this month. These terminals have opened for extended hours in an effort to make up for lost time, but the ports have experienced inland port operations delays as a result of the extreme weather. Further, rail cargo delays are, on average, six days from vessel discharge, whereas ships birthing has seen delays of up to four days. As a result of the severe weather on the East Coast and in the Midwest, rail transportation has been delayed in reaching the West Coast. Some shippers are moving away from intermodal rail in an effort to make up for lost time. They are not finding much relief as a state of emergency has been declared in several states over the last month resulting in the closure of many interstates and highways, slowing down truckers.
A study released by the Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) insurance company found that variations in weather could affect the U.S. economy by as much as $534 billion a year.
We consistently monitor freight as it moves through the supply chain and will keep our customers informed as we navigate through the extreme weather.