"One of the key things with demurrage is that it goes to the ability of your terminals. Our position is that terminals are not storage facilities. They are transfer facilities. It's important to insure that boxes are picked up and cycled out as quickly as possible so that you don't get into a situation where you are stacking containers three, four and five on top of each other and are having to lift three or four to get to the one on the bottom... It just gums up the entire productivity of the terminal and the customer suffers with the congestion."
Mark Hallman, CN
"Cargo has had a history of sitting for days. As the volumes of intermodal have grown, it was apparent we couldn't allow that to sit at our facilities if we were going to handle more freight. So we changed our storage policy and raised charges. We did it in a pretty substantial way and it had a very positive impact and the freight started moving off our terminals and created a great deal of additional capacity. A lot of port operators did so as well, but not to the extent that we did. So there's an opportunity [there] in the supply chain."
Steve Branscum, BNSF
"Part of what we do with our customers is to deal directly with them in order to explain why we have demurrage charges and how we can work together to try to avoid situations that result in these charges. That takes working closely with customers but also others along the system."
Ed Greenberg, CPR
"We have something called 'free time.' It used to be four or five days. At this point it's no more than 48 hours. In particularly heavily used or congested terminals, it's about 24 to 36 hours depending on the terminal. The reality is that the property is land-locked in many places. Where we had four or five days worth of units stored on the facility, we've gone to two days, which has created a lot more flexibility for us to handle a lot more freight in those terminals."
John Kaiser, UP