Stop the scapegoat rails for supply chain problems

A strange thing is happening amid ongoing supply chain disruptions that are creating shortages and driving up prices around the world. Despite the fact that the global shipping and freight infrastructure is relentlessly complex and integrated, a particular industry is being singled out to blame.

target? American Railroad. Logic? Well, it’s less clear. But one thing Is Clear in this strange undertaking: blaming any one sector for worldwide supply chain chaos is misleading and counterproductive.

Yet labor unions, some shippers, propaganda-hungry Washington politicians and others have piled on American freight railroads as the big villains. They are attributing supply chain pain to the service disruptions inherent in structural freight rail issues. Movements range from opinion pages to Congress the hearing rooms. Typically, the White House piled on,

Railroads are acutely aware of the essential role they play in the American economy and have long been committed to providing the best possible service. The freight rail industry here is considered one of the best in the world.

Railroads do not exist in a vacuum within the global supply chain. Several factors have contributed to the challenges faced by freight service in recent months. in the following statement recent hearing Before the US Surface Transportation Board, Association of American Railroads highlights “Record inflation, supply and labor shortages, and now global conflict are putting new pressures on many industrial sectors” among the problems facing the industry.

Railroad is not sitting on their hands. For example, acknowledging the current issues, CSX CEO Jim Foote has said that hiring, among other measures, will help the industry return to the level of service before the economic disruptions induced by the pandemic.

MECCA, CA – MAY 10: A one-mile-long Union Pacific freight train is parked along a rail siding near the northern shore of the Salton Sea, as seen near Mecca, Calif., on May 10, 2022. The Coachella Valley, located along Interstate 10 and the Salton Sea to the south, is home to dozens of municipalities and boasts a winter population of 800,000 residents but drops to 400,000 residents in the warm summer months.
George Rose / Getty Images

This leads to a fundamental question: Why have the railroads been such an intense scapegoat and demands for increased regulation while other actors are given a pass by comparison?

It is true that the White House has made many a scapegoat when it comes to an extraordinary increase in inflation. But the ongoing fixation on railroads by other parties as well demonstrates a surprising lack of real-world perspective and understanding.

The truth is that almost all the sectors are facing the challenges faced by the railways. Global ports are congested and backups from Shanghai to Savannah are hurting productivity for countless other regions.

Airline service has been disappointing and is unlikely to improve any time soon. For example, Delta Airlines has just announced that it will actively cancel In view of the staff shortage running 100 daily flights this summer. Trucking industry is feeling the pain of skyrocketing diesel prices lack of qualified drivers, More cost and delay will be felt. Shippers like FedEx and UPS are also facing delays and service problems.

Almost every pillar of the global shipping and freight infrastructure has been tested in the current environment. Trouble in one sector ricochets off another. No one is separate.

It is tempting to be the scapegoat. But it becomes dangerous when it takes the form of ill-conceived regulatory action. The search for the silver bullet leads to harmful, unintended consequences.

The trials facing US railroads are not unique. They are the ones who are shutting down almost every part of the system. Rather than seek out villains, we would be better served to deal with the real obstacles this global mess creates.

Steve Forbes is the President and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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