Norfolk Southern limits inbound loads to ease congestion at Jacksonville intermodal terminal

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NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern is temporarily limiting intermodal loads bound for its congested terminal in Jacksonville, Fla., which has been unable to keep up with a spike in traffic.

NS on Monday began refusing Jacksonville-bound shipments from its terminals in Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago-Landers; Kansas City, Mo.; Rossville, Tenn.; Rutherford, Pa.; and St. Louis., the railroad said in a service advisory. Interline traffic, as well as loads already en route, were not affected.

“We will reopen our origin-facility gates to Jacksonville shipments as soon as conditions warrant,” NS said.

NS has taken several steps to accommodate the increased volume at the Jacksonville terminal, including adding parking spaces and lift tracks, repositioning chassis for containers, and managing inbound shipments.

Last week’s winter storm, which briefly shut some NS routes in the South, exacerbated the backlog of traffic bound for Jacksonville.

NS has been experiencing record inbound volume and sporadic chassis shortages at the terminal since Hurricane Irma hit Florida in early September, intermodal shipper J.B. Hunt told its customers in an advisory on Tuesday.

NS previously limited Jacksonville-bound intermodal traffic for five days in late September as it worked off a backlog of shipments delayed by the hurricane and subsequent storms.

An NS spokeswoman would not provide additional details on the terminal expansion or what factors contributed to the increased volume in the midst of the holiday shipping season.

It was unclear if part of the increased traffic was due to shipments of building supplies bound for hurricane-damaged areas of Florida or if NS won some intermodal traffic previously carried by CSX Transportation.

CSX’s terminal in Jacksonville has experienced persistent delays of up to 72 hours since service problems began this summer, according to service advisories from J.B. Hunt.

NS has exceeded the industry average for intermodal growth this year, while CSX has lagged.

Last week, systemwide NS intermodal loads were up more than 8 percent compared to a year ago. For the quarter to date, NS intermodal traffic is up nearly 7 percent.

CSX, by comparison, saw intermodal gains of just 0.8 percent last week. And for the quarter its intermodal traffic is up 2.5 percent.

U.S. intermodal traffic rose nearly 5 percent last week, according to the Association of American Railroads.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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