U.S. Railroads welcome Logistics Partners’ White House expanded service hours announcement

Railroads 24/7 operations and available capacity can take more traffic

On the heels of the White House convening CEOs from across the American supply and logistics chain, AAR president and CEO Ian Jefferies applauded freight railroads’ partners’ newly announced expanded service hours to ease congestion near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This move will capitalize on the long-standing 24/7 railroad operations and available capacity to accommodate additional containers at intermodal rail yards serving those key West Coast ports.

Ian Jefferies headshot

Ian Jefferies

“Railroads have long been 24/7 operations and have remained a resilient, vital part of keeping goods moving across the nation during this challenging time,” said Jefferies. “While this is a shot in the arm to increase capacity before containers reach rail lines, the industry knows close coordination with its trucking partners is critical to accelerating the movement of goods out of intermodal yards and into warehouses. Collaborative efforts like what was announced today, are vital to helping ease pain points and smoothly pass goods from one leg of the freight logistics relay to the next.”

During the meeting with key administration officials, Jefferies made clear that thoughtful, proactive collaboration across the supply chain was vital to address and avoid bottlenecks. As policymakers work to help improve the situation in the near term, Jefferies urged caution when considering new requirements or regulations on the industry, which could limit railroads’ ability to keep freight moving efficiently. To keep pace with longer-term needs, enacting the bipartisan infrastructure package will make essential investments to keep pace with future economic and supply chain needs.

Railroads have been able to nimbly navigate disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continue delivering for the U.S. economy thanks to the dedication of the industry’s highly skilled employees who have kept the goods moving day and night. Examples of steps railroads have proactively take to maximize throughput include:

  • Increasing coordination across railroads in busy rail hubs and sometimes re-routing traffic;
  • Increasing storage capacity to offload containers and keep other trains moving – in some instances opening new yards in strategic locations;
  • Working with trucking partners to move shipments from intermodal terminals as quickly as destination warehousing capacity becomes available;
  • Facilitating on-property chassis pools, while also allowing receivers to provide their own private chassis; and
  • Offering incentives to customers for weekend activity at some facilities, while offering incentives to those who can take a container out when they bring one in.
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