A rail worker strike could mean more truck freight.
If tentative agreements between railroads and unions do not hold, a rail worker strike could happen as early as this week. This will have significant effects on truck freight and consumers. Currently, it costs shippers less money to move freight via rail, with trucking being a second option. If rail stalls, shippers will likely turn to the trucking industry to pick up the slack.
This new freight will not likely go to air carriers because transporting freight via plane comes at a far higher cost than trucking for the limited distance it will travel. In short, there is no financial benefit. Besides, even the largest cargo planes cannot accommodate the amount of freight hauled in a single container on a train. There are significant weight restrictions.
The freight will not be sent via maritime transport because it would not be feasible. Although, transport by water is usually the most cost efficient, these journeys take a long time and ships are restricted by access to accessible waterways. Meaning, there has to be a path by water, to the ship's destination.
Because shippers will face higher charges if they choose to ship by truck, this increase will likely be pushed onto consumers at a time when prices of goods are already high.