BNSF’s Chicago intermodal depot regains flow after operational shift
Truck turn times have returned to normal in BNSF Railway’s Lot 16 outside of Chicago following the railroad’s transferring control of the lot in November to a private company with several locations in the market.
The lot is a depot where drivers return empty ocean containers after beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) unload the contents. It does not handle domestic containers. Although it’s not a haul that many consider, delays in returning an ocean container can lead to detention penalties and drivers completing fewer jobs per day. That eventually causes other BCOs to be billed for terminal demurrage — also called rail storage fees.
The solution was to bring in DNJ Intermodal Services to take over operations in Lot 16; the company runs chassis and container depots elsewhere in Chicago.
BNSF announced in January 2019 that empty ocean containers had to be returned to Lot 16 rather than Logistics Park Chicago (LPC), its main terminal in Elwood, Illinois. Problems started immediately, with lines extending onto adjacent streets. Drayage providers told JOC.com drivers would sometimes wait for an hour only to discover the lot wouldn’t accept the empty. Ocean carriers are supposed to remove boxes in a timely fashion, but sometimes they exceed their storage cap so the terminal refuses to take more.
Once inside, traffic ground to a halt because five lanes were condensed into one. Trucking executives also questioned whether Lot 16 — which can handle up to 1,300 containers — was capable of handling a high volume of empty containers, although that concern hasn’t materialized because BNSF’s intermodal volume is down 4.4 percent year over year through Week 49.
BNSF met with a group of draymen and a representative of the Illinois Trucking Association this summer. One suggestion was to hire DNJ Intermodal. The operational transfer, which occurred last month, has been a success so far, with turn times less than 30 minutes. Terminal fluidity has been restored.
“BNSF is pleased that customers and drivers are having a better experience. We have enjoyed our longstanding, collaborative relationship with the entire trucking community, working in and out of LPC and Lot 16,” the railroad said in a statement to JOC.com Monday. To read more, click BNSF’s Chicago intermodal depot regains flow after operational shift.
Posted: December 18, 2019