"Slightest hiccup" enough to cause backlog at BIT, CIFFA charges

by Canadian Shipper

Frustration may be growing into despair over recurring delays at the CN Brampton Intermodal Yard (BIT), at least in some quarters.

"It appears that whatever efforts are made by all parties involved (yes, including CN), the backlog woes at BIT continue the moment there is a slight hiccup in the system," the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), a group not known to jump to unjustified criticism, commented today.

CIFFA said a note it received from one of the leading trucking firms indicated that waiting time at BIT has increased dramatically. The note also mentioned that top lift downtime was such that 5 out of 6 top lifters were non-operational and as a result CN was unable to properly serve the carter(s).

"This was confirmed by a message received from CN stating that ‘CN’s operating system has been unexpectedly out of service since approximately 15:15 on Wednesday 4 August. This limits CN’s ability to process trucks at the terminal and as a result the entry queue is currently very long. Our IT Department is working on the issue’," the CIFFA newsletter stated.

CIFFA said it also plans to again speak to CN about making allowances for "’unfair" storage charge assessments. CIFFA maintains that customers are currently being "’penalized" even when delays are caused by CN’s inability to deliver service as promised.

"On the other hand, we know that CN is making every possible effort to be responsive to community needs. Let us give credit where credit is due. The creation of a pro-active service department has been received with much accolade from the community. It has made communication more efficient and allowed for pro-active problem solving and anticipatory decision making for pick-ups and deliveries," CIFFA’s newsletter states. "There are no short-term solutions to the volume woes we are experiencing. But there are mid- to long-term solutions that need to be tackled in a private/public sector initiative that require the Government(s) pro-active participation. Now that we have a new Transport Minister, let’s hope and trust that Mr. Lapierre is listening!"

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