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Common Utility Rail-Car Unloading Delays and How to Prevent Them

When we think of transport, many people think about the Port of Los Angelos or the Port of Long Beach, where ships can wait for a long time.

But sea transport is only one aspect of shipping to consider.

Oftentimes, utility materials make their way from the manufacturer to transloading sites by rail car. At that point, they must be unloaded onto trucks and then finally delivered to your material yard.

This process of rail-care unloading is a critical part of the supply chain for utility projects.

Much like every stage of your project, it is also subject to various challenges and potential delays.

Understanding the potential delays is the first step to preventing them and reducing their negative impact.

What are the most common utility rail-car unloading delays? Which supply chain issues can this day to day operation face?

Read on to learn what you need to know.

Weather Delays

One of the most common rail-car unloading delays is the weather. Weather can impact several stages of the transloading process, including the rail-car transport, the actual unloading, or the utility hauling after the items are on the trucks.

Even though rail transport is able to withstand a bit more weather variation than trucks that use roads, severe weather can still impact it. Some common weather issues that can interrupt rail transport include:

  • Excessive snowfall’

  • Earthquakes in Southern California

  • Hurricanes

  • Tornadoes

  • Hail storms

  • Severe weather

Any weather that slows down rail transport will put rail-car unloading behind. Furthermore, many of these same weather conditions can make the transloading process dangerous, resulting in more supply chain woes. Furthermore, different parts of the United States are more likely to experience certain weather conditions than others. For long transport, this can mean several different delays.

Weather is not in our control, but the best transloading companies know how to work around it as much as possible. They monitor weather conditions, anticipate delays, and follow processes that can mitigate the impact of weather delays.

Unexpected World Events

One of the biggest shipping delays the world saw happened during COVID-19. These supply chain delays did not only impact the East Coast or West Coast Ports, they impacted the world’s cargo ships and global supply chains. There were extreme shipping delays with dozens of ships and extreme port congestion.

While utility hauling does not typically rely on ships or the Port of Los Angelos, it can still experience delays from global events. These kinds of delivery delays are hard to anticipate or prevent.

Fortunately, companies in all areas of transloading are aware of these supply chain woes. They are doing everything they can to prevent similar catastrophes from taking over in the future. When it comes to utility transloading, you need a provider who does everything they can to stay ahead of the delays. They should have adequate terms of service and processes for addressing unforeseen delays.

Faulty Equipment

Transloading requires large, specialized equipment. If the equipment doesn’t work as it’s supposed to, then the process can face serious delays.

There are many potential issues that the unloading equipment may have. For one, certain pieces could break. Another common problem is that improper maintenance causes the parts to break down or stop functioning as they should.

Ultimately, equipment malfunctions can drastically slow down the unloading process. The best way to avoid this is to choose a provider who uses the latest equipment. You need a transloading company that adheres to all of the necessary maintenance and takes the best care possible of their trucks, cranes, and other equipment.

Worker Error

Every unloading job requires experienced workers to perform several key tasks. The team must operate equipment, secure rail cars, communicate tasks, and more. As with any job, rail-car unloading is subject to delays from human error.

There are endless mistakes that can delay the process. For example, forgetting a key step that requires the entire team to backtrack or start over could be an issue. Another example is equipment operation errors.

In the end, human error is not 100% avoidable. There’s always a chance someone could make a mistake. The goal is not to be perfect, but to reduce the chances of mistakes as much as possible.

The best utility rail-car unloading companies do everything they can to reduce human error. They train their team exceptionally well, always seeking to improve the efficiency and skill of operators. They review common errors, how to avoid them, and how to quickly correct them. They never want poor workmanship to cause delays for clients, and it shows.

Choosing the Right Provider Reduces Delays

As you can see, there are many delays that transloading faces. How can you prevent these delays and keep your project on track? Hire the right trucking company.

The rail-car unloading company you hire plays a huge role in the timeliness of your project. Can they control the weather or unforeseen circumstances? No, no utility trucking company can control everything.

What they can do is put in place key processes to prevent delays and mitigate the impact. Properly training and compensating truck drivers, for example, can help reduce human errors and ensure you have a committed team on your side.

An executive director that puts in place processes for handling severe weather or global delays keeps his team (and your project) on track. When it comes to rail-car unloading, the provider you choose plays a huge role in the success of your project. Take the time to select an affordable, high-quality transloading company today.

Blackwood Resources Rail-Car Unloading

For rail-car unloading service you can trust, turn to Blackwood Resources. We understand the common utility transloading delays in the United States, and we do everything we can to not let them impact your utility project.

We are an asset-based specialty trucking company that owns and operates our own equipment. This means you can always count on us for well-maintained, industry-leading equipment and professional operators. We take the time to vet and train each driver and operator so we can ensure quality service for you.

Additionally, we also offer self-unloading as part of our utility hauling services. This means you won’t have to pay more money to hire workers and rent equipment to unload the utility materials at your job site. Using our specialized trucks, we unload your utility poles, pipes, or transformers for you in minutes.

Our experienced rail-car unloading team will off-load your utility materials from the rail car and deliver them to your job site. We have the right equipment and the right team for the job.

We look forward to helping you with your next utility project today, including rail-car unloading. Learn more about our services and how we can help now. We will assess your hauling needs and work with you to design a custom quote for your needs.

Contact our team of specialists today at or 812-676-8770.



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