We’ve definitely seen the government making big waves in the supply chain industry lately. After it was thrust into the general conscience by the pandemic, the supply chain seems to continue to be on everyone’s lips. Even now, our industry is still going through a bit of turmoil with the global economy recovering from the impact of COVID, strikes across the nation, natural disasters, and factors like employment and automation.
Maybe that’s why we’ve all grown accustomed to waking up to a news alert that the President or administration has announced a new plan to get involved in issues that affect the supply chain. Still, it may be hard to keep up with all the new motions passing in and out of DC. If you can only read so many news stories before your brains check out, don’t worry. We’re here to summarize the latest developments for you.
The Latest Government Involvement
The Railroad Strike
As we have seen recently, the government has been getting involved in the supply chain with solutions they believe will make the industry run more smoothly. In December, President Biden signed legislation preventing a strike by railroad workers, which the administration claimed could have affected up to 115,000 workers and stopped 30% of cargo being shipped around the U.S. Washington’s estimates projected the strike would have also cost the country approximately $2 billion each day, along with stranding millions of rail passengers. Whether Biden’s move was proactive or misguided, it certainly made waves in our industry.
States’ Railroad Rights
In November 2022, Ohio filed a request to have the Supreme Court hear a case on whether states have the authority to regulate railroad traffic at grade crossings. Nineteen U.S. states and Washington DC have all joined the filing. Ohio is also appealing a lower court ruling that determined the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is the sole authority to regulate railroad activities. The states want the Supreme Court to determine whether the STB has sole jurisdiction over regulating crossings or if the states have any authority of their own. The outcome of this decision could impact train schedules and regulation across the country.
Requirements for Autonomous Vehicles
Just this last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a supplement to a policy from 2019 that would require carriers to meet more regulations if they choose to utilize driverless vehicles. This seems to be driven by the Department of Transportation’s initiative to reduce vehicle-related fatalities. The proposal is currently open for public comments, which means it’ll be a while before we know whether or not to expect these new regulations to go into effect.
During these uneasy and unpredictable times, our customers can lean on TOC to keep them informed on any further developments that might impact their businesses. We also recommend regularly checking industry publications for updates that may matter to your specific organization. Make sure to also consult government websites like such as the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Additionally, we always encourage customers to reach out to local and state representatives and advocate for policies that support causes that matter to thems, along with participating in local advocacy groups that focus on pertinent logistics issues.
TOC is diligently monitoring supply chain efficiencies that have been impacted this past year. Clear and timely communication is key, and we will provide as much information as possible to help our customers understand the impact on their operations. We will continue to keep a close eye on these developments and help address any changes that may affect organizations in the long run.