BNSF places limited embargo on some shipments headed for California

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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BNSF has placed an embargo on some traffic headed for California.
David C. Lester

In response to significant ongoing service challenges, BNSF plans to issue a temporary permit embargo affecting some westbound traffic moving to destinations in California.

This limited embargo will impact automotive shipments as well as specific agricultural and industrial commodities. Intermodal shipments, which are being managed through alternate means, are not covered by this embargo. The embargo will take effect Monday, June 27, 2022 for waybills with a shipment date beginning Wednesday, June 29, 2022 and is currently scheduled to expire on July 31, 2022.

We have experienced a sharp increase in congestion throughout Southern California during the past few weeks due to several high wind events concurrent with the high levels of traffic seeking to move through the region. In addition, flash flooding from monsoonal rains caused a service outage earlier this week on a portion of our Southern Transcon near Laguna, New Mexico, approximately 70 miles west of Belen. Both main tracks at this location were out of service for several hours. Temporary speed restrictions were implemented while crews restored and inspected affected track, which resulted in additional congestion and reduced fluidity on the Transcon.

The resulting impacts have affected our ability to effectively align resources with freight volumes, particularly the efficient utilization of train crews in the region. While this embargo action will lead to some additional disruption to our affected customers in the short term, we are confident that this aggressive measure will provide the additional capacity needed to recover velocity and improve cycle times more quickly, as well as assist with resource availability.

This embargo applies to all commodities that are being shipped to destinations in California from the following states in the BNSF network: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. All eastern points of origin outside the BNSF network, which interchange through gateways located in the above states, are also included in this embargo.

For affected commodities, BNSF will issue permits to embargoed destinations. Permit requests must be submitted one week prior to desired shipment date. Customers can submit permit requests, as well as obtain more information, through this online form.

For specific information about the commodities impacted by the embargo, please check the BNSF website.

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