Supply chain tumult goes beyond the high seas – it reaches inland.

The latest obstacle for U.S. shippers has appeared in the form of rail delays. From intermodal chassis shortages to railcar traffic, challenges are plentiful. As a result, major railroads BNSF and Union Pacific (UP) are taking measures to combat disruptions in their respective networks.

BNSF Intermodal Trouble Between LA, Chicago

According to a report from, BNSF has experienced substantial delays on its LA-Chicago intermodal network. The carrier announced the delays in late March but recently stated that conditions are improving slowly. All the same, BNSF says it plans to hire an additional 1,000 employees to help improve and maintain intermodal performance from the west coast to Chicago.

The core of the issue for BNSF appears to be chassis availability in Chicago. reports that containers are often stuck in Chicago for weeks – unable to move on to their destinations due to chassis scarcity. Combined with ongoing port congestion, the chassis shortage creates a challenging situation. Shippers should expect continued delays on the BNSF network as it works toward solutions.

Union Pacific Counteracts Congestion with Traffic Reduction

Rail rival Union Pacific is encountering issues of its own. Transport Topics writes that UP has seen congestion worsen throughout its network. Consequently, the Omaha-based carrier announced that it is limiting the number of customer-owned rail cars on its lines. Similarly, UP will also draw down a small percentage of its own rail cars while making plans to add up to 100 more engines.

Despite losing some rail car capacity, UP appears confident that its measures will promote fluidity and movement across its network. Shippers should similarly expect continued delays from UP as it pushes toward resolving its traffic issues.

Navigate Rail Challenges with 3PL Guidance

Inland supply chain links continue to deal with the shockwaves of coastal congestion. As intermodal networks face persistent obstacles, having a helping hand is more crucial than ever. Your 3PL resource at Scarbrough Transportation can help take on intermodal curveballs and other inland logistics hurdles with confidence. Contact us to develop a game plan for navigating rail disruptions and more.