The railroad has announced plans to stop transporting hazardous materials and sensitive cargo, such as fertilizers and chlorine used in water treatment, as it continues negotiations with two labor unions.
Railways have informed customers that they may stop accepting certain types of cargo, including bulk cargo, from Monday to prevent material from becoming out of control or unsafe during the shutdown. Rail customers such as agricultural companies are evaluating contingency plans, including closing processing plants during train delays or hiring alternative transportation providers such as trucking companies.
Plans for railroads are expanding beyond freight traffic. Amtrak said it will begin reducing some passenger service on Tuesday, canceling service on three long-haul routes.
Freight railroads have reached new labor agreements or are finalizing tentative agreements with 10 unions and are in talks with two groups representing about 66,000 workers. The remaining two unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Apprentices and the SMART-Transport Division, said on Sunday that the railways’ plan to limit freight would “exploit the contract agreement” and remain on the negotiating table.
Talks involving railway workers’ groups and companies, including Norfolk Southern Corporation NSC;
and Union Pacific Corporation UNP,
It’s been going on for months.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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