Possible railway worker strike: how it could potentially benefit trucking companies

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – This Friday, rail workers may go on strike for the first time in over 30 years. Meaning higher costs and supply chain disruptions comparable to those at the height of the pandemic.

This would impact everything from chemicals used in water treatment plants to the wheat most of us eat everyday. The timing of the strike is crucial as many farmers are in the midst of the harvest season.

However, Freightwaves Editorial Director Rachel Premack said this is good for the trucking industry as the stock market as taken a hit.

“It is really a key time for farmers to be exporting their own crops and you know, preparing for all of their harvests for the year. So, there’s definitely ample opportunity for truck drivers. But, how much trucking we’ll be able to pick up the slack from rail is not quite certain,” said Premack. “It is good news for truckers because, you know, they have been, they have been struggling in recent months with the downturn in the stock market. So, it is good news for trucking companies, but it’s probably not something that will last more than a few days. On the other hand, I could see, you know, certain customers moving away from rail permanently just because they don’t want to deal with potential service disruptions.”

Trains are responsible for $80 billion dollars in trade every year. A strike would shut down 30 percent of that trade almost instantly

“A strike. It is pretty and it can be really catastrophic. Especially for the larger economy and our larger society,” said Premack. “The trucking industry likely won’t be able to move everything that rail has the capacity for.”

Economic experts predict even if enough truck drivers are on the job, the increased shipping costs will likely push inflation even higher.


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