E2B: Energy to Business: Why Threat of Rail Strike Heightened Supply Chain Issues


Freight rail is a critical mode of logistics and transportation for moving products throughout the supply chain. So, when the recent threat of a rail strike nearly derailed the supply chain and cost the U.S. economy upwards of $2 billion per day, national media attention rose sharply—and for good reason.

To understand this unique aspect of the supply chain, host Daniel J. Litwin caught up with Patrick Long, Director, and Michael Wohlfarth, Manager, in Opportune’s Process & Technology practice to get a better picture of the broader implications of what a rail strike would have done to the U.S. economy and why rail logistics is such a critical component of the overall supply chain.

With strikes across the country on the rise in 2022 in comparison to 2021, a potential rail strike came with a little surprise. But the effects of such a strike, if it had happened, would have been catastrophic.

“The supply chain works because it’s always in motion,” Long says. “Rail affects us all, especially with consumer goods.”

Wohlfarth added, “If rail had ceased then it would become a shaken inventory level forcing manufacturers to scramble for alternative means of transportation and, of course, result in higher costs.”

READ MORE: Infographic: On Track? Rail Traffic Trends In The US

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