Congestion Continues… CHICAGO IS IN CHAOS!


Staff Content Writer

August 24, 2021 • 2 minutes read

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It’s the second year of experiencing extreme external disruption and unpredictability in the freight market! As consumer spending habits are still heavily online, the transportation network has had no time to rest. Combine an influx in volume with the already overwhelmed shipping industry, and it turns into more congestion and extended delays. And Chicago is just one of the cities experiencing this as this peak shipping season begins. 

Chicago’s Rail Congestion 

Railroads are experiencing severe congestion: UP had 25 miles and BNSF had 22 miles of trains just stuck and sitting around near Chicago rail facilities. Vendors have attempted to lessen congestion by closing their facilities for days or implementing entry restrictions in order to work through the stockpile of containers. 

Equipment and Staff Shortage 

With an increased volume of cargo at terminals and other rail facilities, Chicago is experiencing consistent chassis shortages. Drayage capacity is also experiencing shortages, which is caused by both insufficient drivers and an insufficient chassis supply. But even if there are drivers available, there is no equipment to separate the stacks of containers and transport them out of warehouses. There is also the matter of finding enough warehouse workers to oversee the process, which has also been difficult. 

A Multitude of Delays 

In Chicago, delays in picking up and delivering containers are only getting worse. Lack of terminal capacity triggered the beginning of delays, but other factors are magnifying them. The two main culprits are rail congestion and chassis shortages, and the ever-rising volume of demand and driver shortage crisis appear to be smaller problems. 

As ocean and air bookings continuously increase, monthly volumes are expected to remain strong. High consumer demand has no end in sight, and upcoming containers are expected to continue fighting for space. Tight capacity across railroads, trucks, drayage, containers, and many more just make matters worse. 

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