UPDATE: UPRR Nor Cal Container Embargo Continues
Oakland, Stockton area terminals still impacted by ''wildcat'' trucker action
OAKLAND - 05/04/04 - The Union Pacific Railroad has decided to continue its embargo on container cargo moving in and out of its Northern California intermodal facilities in Oakland and Lathrop, near the Port of Stockton.
The decision by the Omaha, Nebraska-headquartered railroad to keep the embargo in effect at the container transfer terminals came as independent truckers hauling containers in to and out of its intermodal facilities continue their "wildcat" action protesting the surging cost of diesel fuel, which has risen in the past few weeks to as high as $2.50 a gallon in California - as much as 56 cents a gallon higher than the national average.
The truckers, who haul cargo between the two deep-water ports and the rail and distribution facilities serving most of Northern California, began the action last week throughout the state with truckers - most of whom own their own rigs - snarling traffic on Southern California freeways and blocking entrance and exit lanes at container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lathrop, and Oakland.
Both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported near normal activity at their container terminal facilities today with containers moving in and out of the ports' facilities without interruption.
The Union Pacific (UPRR) - the major railroad handling container cargo moving in and out of California - issued an embargo on containers entering and leaving all its California facilities at 12:01 am yesterday, but rescinded the embargo on its intermodal activities in Southern California about 10 hours later as conditions improved and cargo flow in the Southland returned to near-normal.
In Northern California, however, the Port of Oakland yesterday reported a continued slowdown at its container terminals with "very little activity" reported at the facilities operated by American President Lines, Stevedoring Services of America (SSA), the Trans Pacific Container Service Corp. (TRAPAC), Maersk Sealand, Transbay Container Terminal, Yusen Terminals, and Hanjin Shipping.
Oakland - the fourth busiest container port in the US - handled a record 1.92 million containers last year, a 13% increase over the volume that passed through the port's 10 active container yards and two near-dock rail facilities in 2002. The port is served by 32 ocean carriers.
Last Friday, at the height of the work slowdown, the Oakland experienced an 85% to 90% drop in normal business with some 100 truckers picketing at and blocking container terminal entrance and exit lanes.
The Union Pacific?intermodal terminal in Lathrop, located just south of the Port of Stockton at the northernmost edge of California's San Joaquin Valley, plays a critical role in the railroad's California service profile.
In 2002, the facility was made the western US terminus for the railroad's "Blue Steak" cross-country container service.
Operated in cooperation with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, the expedited service provides a major link for double-stack container trains moving eastbound and westbound via Chicago between the Port of Oakland?and major transshipment terminals in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.?
Last year, the "Blue Steak" service was expanded to handle containers moving between California and Atlanta, Georgia.
The Northern California-Northeast corridor through Lathrop?also connects to the Union Pacific's'service connecting Los Angeles with Dallas, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee.
The Lathrop intermodal facility serves several major international clients including Daimler Chrysler, Commercial Building Components Inc., Home Depot Distribution, California Natural Products, Toyota subsidiary Fuel Total Systems California Inc., and Medline Industries.
The Union Pacific would not speculate on when the embargo on activities at its Oakland and Lathrop terminals would resume.
However,?while informed sources that asked not to be identified would not comment specifically on the continuing Northern California action, they did tell the CalTrade Report that the action "will probably end within the next few days."??
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