Rail service must publicly file plans

Created: 6/24/14 (Tue) | Topic: Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) will begin requiring Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and BNSF Railway to publicly file their plans to resolve backlogs of grain cars and provide weekly status updates, Congressman Kevin Cramer announced. The order comes as service problems persist for agriculture producers in North Dakota.

In the decision, STB cited reported impacts of rail service delays including “elevators running out of storage capacity, risk of stored grain spoiling, and penalties incurred by grain shippers for products that are not delivered on time,” and went on to state “although the data submitted by both railroads indicates some initial progress toward reducing their grain car order backlogs and grain car delays, the Board remains very concerned about the limited time period until the next harvest, the large quantities of grain yet to be moved, and the railroads’ paths toward meeting their respective commitments.”

“While the STB acknowledges BNSF and CP have provided information on their long-term plans to improve service, there is a need for clear updates on what is being done in the near-term. I welcome the Board’s decision and am confident the rail companies will be forthcoming with the necessary information,” said Cramer.

The two companies are ordered to report by June 27 their plans for resolving the backlog of grain car orders, and begin issuing weekly status reports until the problem is resolved. A similar STB directive in April required both rail companies to report their plans to ensure delivery of fertilizer shipments for the spring planting of U.S. crops, and provide weekly status reports for six weeks including delivery data and number of cars associated with agricultural destinations. The six-week period concluded at the end of May with BNSF reaching its goal of delivering 52 trainloads of fertilizer.

 The full decision can be viewed here.

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