08 August, 2023

WSI’s Response to Rail Supply Chain Challenges

A Note From Our COO to Our Customers


APPPLETON, WI. – Dear WSI customers,

At WSI, we are proud to offer rail service across 18 facilities, a significant advantage that sets us apart from many competitors. This extensive warehouse network and strategic partnerships with 5 of the 6 Class-A Railroads, help WSI provide cost-effective and reliable rail solutions tailored to your unique requirements. Check out some of our specific locations, like our Dallas rail warehouse or our Long Beach warehouse.

Despite our best efforts, changes in the rail industry can present obstacles beyond our control affecting rail supply chains nationwide. After all, like many other industries, railroads have struggled with labor issues and financial stressors that impact service levels. To guarantee seamless operations, our rail-served facilities are led by dedicated professionals who excel in collaboration with our rail providers. Through regular monthly meetings, we proactively address potential challenges, develop action plans, conduct training, and share best practices. For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of rail logistics, you might find our article on what is transloading beneficial.

Here are two examples of how WSI and customers can work together to overcome rail-related challenges:

Switch Frequency Adjustments:

There have been unexpected changes in the number of weekly rail switches at two of our facilities this year. As our valued customer, we understand the impact this may have on your business, and that you may not be able to make adjust railcar requirements as quickly as necessary. In cases such as this, we will do our best to accommodate as many cars as possible in the number of switches available. Whether it’s using overtime or bringing in extra staff, we proactively work to meet all your demands promptly and seamlessly. In cases where this results in demurrage, WSI works with our customers to cover these costs that we cannot control.

Increased Production Demands:

A surge in production may lead to more rail cars arriving at WSI facilities than initially agreed upon. Staying true to our commitment to reliability, WSI will leverage overtime and additional resources to meet our customer’s growing needs. In cases of demurrage charges, we will collaborate with customers to control costs outside of our control. We will also maintain ongoing communication with the customer to ensure we are prepared to support your operation as efficiently as possible.

As a collaborative partner, we value your input and appreciate your assistance in overcoming rail-related challenges. We recently had a successful instance where a joint call with WSI, the rail provider, and the customer led to an adjustment in the number of switches required, ensuring a smooth and efficient rail service. The railroad is a key link in the supply chain and we will continue to strengthen our rail relationships through intentional communication and problem-solving.

Thank you for your continued trust in WSI.

Paul Simmons, Chief Operating Officer