IWLA, the Association for Logistics Outsourcing, has created a group for member companies looking for a forum to address issues arising from railroad use by third-party logistics providers (3PLs). The IWLA Rail Council is open to all IWLA members using or considering the use of rail services.
Among the first issues the council intends to address is rail demurrage. That's the practice of charging 3PL warehouses additional fees when freight cars are not unloaded in a timely manner. Often these situations are out of a warehouse's control.
Instead, the IWLA would like to enter into "actual placement" agreements with each of the Class 1 rail carriers. Under actual placement, a railroad would agree not to charge demurrage for delays caused by factors outside of the warehouse's control in exchange for an arrangement to unload an agreed-upon number of rail cars within a specified time period. Such an arrangement could save 3PL companies (and their clients) hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
The IWLA has been working on the demurrage issue for several years in conjunction with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which directed the IWLA to meet with Class 1 carriers to work out an official agreement.
Interested IWLA members should contact Rail Council co-chairs Gary Minardi of San Jose Distribution Services and Paul Delp of Lansdale Warehouse.