Although 8 of the 12 US rail unions have tentatively agreed to cancel or postpone strikes, a handful of rail companies including Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern remain undecided ahead of Friday’s deadline at 1 minute past midnight.
Brokering a successful deal is important for the entire US supply chain as America’s railroads carry around 30% of cargo and any stoppages would cause a break in supply of essential goods such as food and fuel.
Ahead of the decision deadline, some railroads have stopped accepting certain types of intermodal cargo such as e-commerce and consumer goods, which make up almost 50% of US rail cargo.
Any rail strikes are likely to further exacerbate the current ocean port congestion across the East and Gulf coasts in addition to the inland hubs as mentioned in our latest congestion update.
The shipping of hazardous materials ceased on Monday to ensure that nothing is stranded in an unsecure location during any potential stoppages.
Some importers are already electing to arrange for shipments to avoid intermodal rail moves and seek to crossdock containers in warehouses on the coast for delivery by road to final inland destination. This is placing additional pressure on the road and warehousing networks in these areas, so could have a knock on effect to the overall supply chain beyond intermodal only.
Should you wish to look at options available for your business, please contact your local Woodland representative.
We will keep this page up to date with the latest developments.
If you have any questions about your North American shipments please contact our team here.
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