US auto market is facing new challenge - not enough rail cars to transport units

  • Reports suggest as many as 70,000 freshly-minted cars are waiting for a ride to various locations in the country.
File photo used for representational purpose.
File photo used for representational purpose.

Just when the massive issue of semiconductor shortage was easing off, the American car market has been hit by a fresh challenge - rail car shortage. With production levels increasing, there are just not enough railroad cars available to ferry the freshly-minted vehicles from factories to supply centres across the country.

US media reports highlight that as many as 70,000 new cars are parked at various locations and waiting to be hoisted on awaited rail cars. Just that there are not enough rail cars to ferry them. With around 75 per cent of all new cars manufactured in the US depending on freight rail for transportation, the problem may rise exponentially in the weeks to come.

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The issue at hand is due to multiple factors apart from the sheer scale of rise in vehicle production with semiconductor shortage issue easing out. Supply chain patterns have been changed while routing channels have been altered in recent times. The scale of the problem is such that it is likely that the US Surface Transportation Board would be forced to intervene.

The US auto industry heavily depends on train-based transportation because not only is it quicker but can also ferry a larger number of units than cargo trucks.A single railroad car can ferry up to 12 vehicle units while a truck hauler can accommodate a maximum of eight vehicles. This also means that the railroad option works out to be more affordable.

First Published Date: 19 Jun 2023, 14:43 PM IST
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