The nation's largest railroad, Union Pacific Corp, shut down four of its five main rail lines out of the Los Angeles Basin because of 23 mudslides and damaged tracks and bridges in the area. That brought the company's freight traffic almost to a halt in the area.
Combined with recent gridlock at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, this rail closure has convinced APL, a major shipper of intermodal cargo containers and a unit of Neptune Orient Lines of Singapore, to permanently ship much of its transcontinental cargo to Seattle WA rather than Los Angeles.
Along with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp, Union Pacific hauls goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach north and east to the rest of the United States.
The Port of Los Angeles ranked as the nation's top international freight “gateway” in 2003, based on a new report published by the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
With 2,845 vessel calls in 2003, the Port of Los Angeles handled 6.7 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent containers) in 2003, as well as 147.5 million metric revenue tons of cargo.