Arizona economy could be hit hard by freight rail strike, experts say

Julia Macaluso and her husband, Nick own GR8FR8 Logistics in Gilbert. The Macaluso's say they're already 80,000 drivers short before the strike.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:07 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:17 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A tentative deal has been made between U.S. freight railroads and two of three unions. A strike was set to begin Friday if a deal was not reached, but it’s now been pushed back to the end of the month.

Trains carry everything from medical equipment, to produce. Julia Macaluso and her husband, Nick own GR8FR8 Logistics in Gilbert. With the pending national freight rail strike, they say it could create massive issues. “You’re going to see shortages at the stores increases in prices and it’s going to have an impact that’s going to hit us almost instantly,” said Julia Macaluso.

Inflation and problems in the supply chain are not new issues, but the looming strike will cause it all to get worse. “With the rail not being in service, we’re going to need more trucks to go and get that freight. And you can imagine, there’s already a shortage,” she said.

Her husband, Nick, agrees and says we’re already 80,000 drivers short of where we should be. “You’re going to pay more for trucks to go pick things up, pay more to get them out of the yard and get moving,” he said.

Hitendra Chaturvedi is a Supply Chain Management Professor at Arizona State University. “Arizona economy, agriculture plays a very, very vital role. And railroad plays a very vital role in supporting agriculture,” he said.

Chaturvedi is urging the freight train companies and unions to come to an agreement. “We are heavily dependent on farm products and railroads are the main transporter for livestock feed, and poultry feed. This is the time for harvest, and railroads carry a lot of the products, actually one third of our exports to the ports are carried by railroad.”