NS Outlines Steps it’s Taken to Untangle Intermodal Congestion

In response to a request by federal regulators, Norfolk Southern has outlined steps it has taken to alleviate congestion in its intermodal terminals.

NS contended that the congestion is due to factors beyond its control, an assertion made by other Class 1 railroads in their responses to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

NS said it has taken steps to limit the flow of containers, particularly to terminals in Chicago, where bottlenecks have occurred due to a high volume of containers coming in and shippers and receivers being slow to pick up containers unloaded from inbound trains.

In a letter signed by CEO James Squares, NS said it is metering the flow of traffic at origin terminals to keep inland terminal volume “consistent with the ability of the drayage and warehouse communities to pull them from those terminals, and increased the flow of inbound containers as outgate capacity has improved.”

The most congested NS terminals have been Chicago Landers; Austell, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.

At Landers, NS increased stacked container capacity by 60 percent and lift capacity by 40 percent.

Squires said NS has worked with BNSF and Union Pacific to create steel-wheel interchanges in Chicago in order to reduce the demand for crosstown rubber-tire moves of containers from one railroad terminal to another.

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