Intermodal Advisory: Railroads Prepare for Nationwide Strike

By Admin

Sep 13, 2022 | LinkedIn


U.S. Class I railroads are expected to begin halting intermodal operations by midweek, or sooner, in preparation for a potential strike that may halt freight rail traffic across the nation.

Contract deals have been struck with 10 out of 12 rail unions, but the two holdouts are the biggest — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART) — which account for more than 90,000 rail employees necessary to operate trains and maintain the tracks.

According to the Association of American Railroads‘ list of current embargoes, hazardous material shipments were stopped on Monday, September 12th by CSX, BNSF, and Union Pacific due to the growing threat of “spontaneous labor action.”

Please refer to the most recent changes below:

Norfolk Southern

NS is planning for a controlled shut down of the network at 00:01 EST on Friday, September 16.

Effective 17:00 local time on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, NS will close all gates to Intermodal traffic. This will be an adjustment of 5 hours later than what was stated in Service Alert 09122022 – 124.

All other General Guidelines and EMP and TMX statements follow below:

General Guidelines

  • In-gates for loaded or empty intermodal units for rail movement will close at all NS Intermodal terminals
  • Traffic originating at on-dock port facilities and privately owned intermodal terminals will not be accepted
  • Customers with eastbound interline shipments should contact the originating rail carrier regarding guidelines for the acceptance of traffic at origin
  • Until further notice, out-gates will remain open at all NS Intermodal terminals during normal business hours for customers to pick up units


Customers using EMP and TMX containers should note the following:

  • NS will discontinue filling reservations on equipment effective at 00:01 local time Wednesday, September 14
  • Any empty units out-gated after 12:00 (noon) local time Sunday, September 11 and until further notice will be charged according to normal per diem schedules
  • Customers will be able to return empty EMP and TMX containers to NS terminals as normal until further notice. This process may be modified as terminal conditions require.

Union Pacific

On Monday September 12, Union Pacific will begin to secure hazardous and other security-sensitive materials. In addition, UP will embargo new shipments of hazardous commodities until those shipments can safely arrive at their destination.

A list of the specific commodities affected can be viewed here.
You may reference the UP Embargo page or the AAR Embargo System for active embargoes.


With the September 16th deadline approaching, BNSF has implemented the following:

  • BNSF began taking necessary steps to manage and secure the shipments of hazardous and security-sensitive materials on Monday, September 12th, in accordance with federal regulations and also to ensure that no hazardous cargo is left unattended or unsecured in the event of a work stoppage.
  • Effective Wednesday, September 14 at 12:01 am, BNSF will not allow Temperature Controlled Intermodal (TCI) units to in-gate at any of its intermodal facilities.
  • Customers are encouraged to pick up their TCI units that have reached their final destination and units at origin that have not been loaded onto a train.
  • Non-running TCI units used for dry bulk shipments may still be in-gated.

Canadian National

CN rail has placed an embargo on all hazardous and over-dimensional loads. CN is shutting down the movement of this specialized cargo in anticipation of the strike.


CSX issued an embargo on all TIH/PIH shipments and other safety-sensitive freight effective Monday, Sept. 12.

We appreciate your support and understanding in this matter. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your local MTA representative directly.

Best Regards,
Midwest Transatlantic Lines, Inc.

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