HONOLULU (KHON2) — A looming railroad worker strike could have devastating economic impacts across the nation, including in Hawaii.

Experts said impacts could be felt most at big chain stores on the Islands.

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The Hawaii Shippers Council said between a quarter to a third of goods shipped into Hawaii need to be brought to the West Coast by train first.

“It would affect a broad number of retailers here in the islands, the big ones like Costco and Sam’s Club and Walmart certainly would be affected by it,” said HSC President Mike Hansen.

“In terms of any kind of merchandise that may be moving from inland points to Hawaii, they will be stopped.”

Mike Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council president

Hansen added that even some goods coming from the West Coast — like the Pacific Northwest — could be affected.

“Even some of the lumber that comes out of southern Oregon, for example, moves by rail to Seattle,” Hansen said.

Matson declined to comment but local shipping company Pasha Hawaii said the following in a statement:

We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with our customers to help them expedite the best possible transit for their cargo.”

Pasha Hawaii

The HSC said to prepare for higher costs to get goods to the Islands if an agreement to raise pay for rail workers is reached and a strike is averted.

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“The reason that the unions are so insistent on getting a pay raise now is because the inflation rate is costing their members a lot more,” Hansen said.