The southern U.S. has suffered a one-two punch with the landfall of two major hurricanes within weeks. Rail freight has ground to a halt on the Texas Gulf and lower Atlantic Coasts, with embargoes being placed on traffic into major hubs and ports. As with any service disruption due to weather or other circumstances, such as bridge or track construction, shippers should know they can search the AAR Embargo System (no account required) to find details on railroad embargoed locations: aarembargo.railinc.com/epdb.
For railroads, repairing damage and rerouting traffic is the focus right now. For shippers, however, damage control will also need to be a focus when the freight bills start arriving. Thousands of shipments will be affected and many complex situations will occur. Cars will be held, diverted or cancelled, or may have suffered damage that forces them to move in and out of repair shops. Shipments may be returned and volume commitments may also be affected. It is important to recognize that there are Force Majeure clauses in some carriers’ rules that allow adjustments so clients do not lose volume discounts. Finally, it should be noted that, in most cases, demurrage should not accumulate while cars are sidelined for “embargo hold.”
All these recent hurricane-related situations may have a dramatic impact on transportation operations and freight costs. We encourage shippers to stay in close contact with their carrier representatives to work issues. AMTR will be on your side, as well, using our powerful knowledge base and expertise to review any exceptional circumstances and moves to make sure the billing is correct.