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Railroads Cope With Port Congestion And Oil Uncertainty

North American railroads achieved tremendous gains in 2014 but face several challenges in 2015. Questions remain about whether oil by rail has room to grow. Western railroads Union Pacific (UNP) and BNSF Railway, owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), may lose business due to congestion and work slowdowns amid union negotiations at West Coast ports. Meanwhile, Canadian railroads have picked up additional international intermodal business that normally would go through U.S. ports.

The congestion at Long Beach and Los Angeles has reached the "crisis stage," according to the Journal of Commerce. Twenty ships are anchored off the shore of Long Beach for up to two weeks. Unloading a ship can take eight days due to work slowdowns.

Overwhelmed by congestion and hampered by International Longshore and Warehouse Union work slowdowns, West Coast ports saw their container volume drop 6% in December, the Journal of Commerce reported.

BNSF Railway says it… Read More …