NRF Statement on Potential U.S. Freight Rail Disruptions

"Freight rail is critical to the retail supply chain, and retailers of every size rely on it to move cargo every day. "

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay regarding the potential for a system-wide disruption of rail cargo should negotiations between freight railroads and rail labor organizations remain unresolved by the September 15 deadline.

“Freight rail is critical to the retail supply chain, and retailers of every size rely on it to move cargo every day. Retailers are deeply concerned about the situation and the impact that a disruption would have on business operations and American consumers throughout the country.

“The timing coincides directly with peak shipping season for the winter holidays, and a strike would have devastating consequences for retailers’ supply chains and could cripple the U.S. economy. American businesses and working families are already facing increased prices due to historically high levels of inflation. A rail strike would create greater inflationary pressure and challenges for businesses and consumers. Smooth and stable operations on the rails is crucial as we enter the busy holiday season.

“Should the negotiating parties fail to reach an agreement, Congress must act quickly to intervene and implement the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations to avoid a rail strike and a catastrophic shutdown of the freight rail system.”

According to a recent report from the American Association of Railroads, a nationwide rail shutdown could halt nearly 7,000 freight trains and cost more than $2 billion a day.

Last week, NRF sent a letter to Congress expressing concern about the potential for U.S. freight rail disruptions.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.