Railroads release progress reports on grain car backlog

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced that BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have publicly filed weekly updates on the status of the grain backlog, as required by the United States Surface Transportation Board (STB). A summary of North Dakota-specific reporting data for the past 10 weeks is below.

Following the STB’s hearing into “urgent issues in freight rail service” in April, BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific submitted plans to restore service, explaining specific actions that they will take to improve the service and identify the specific metrics they will use to assess their progress towards those improvements.

Effective today, the STB requires BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific to file service progress reports detailing efforts to correct service deficiencies. They will continue to file service progress reports every two weeks for six months. Beginning June 15, the STB will also require all Class I railroads to report additional employment data for six months.

Grain Car Backlog Status Report

Click here to access the data.

Background:

Last week, Senator Cramer led 20 colleagues in a letter urging the STB to provide reliable and consistent rail service for American industries and shippers.

“We are very concerned about the significant disruptions to rail service occurring across the entire U.S. freight rail network. Reports from rail customers, including our manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and energy producers, indicate that reliable rail service is not being provided in many situations,” write the senators.

The letter also outlines the concerns and issues raised by customers and labor organizations during last month’s STB hearing into “pressing problems in freight rail service” from agricultural producers and grain shippers unable to obtain empty railcars, resulting in significant delays in product delivery to energy producers forced to curtail production due to the constantly delayed arrival of railcars. Learn more here.

In March, Senator Cramer led his colleagues in a letter calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet to take action to prevent a Canadian Pacific Railway strike. A strike would have significant market implications, from agriculture to energy, and exacerbate the Biden administration’s supply chain crisis. Up to 15% of Canadian Pacific’s business is transporting fertilizers, and the United States relies on the railroad to move crude oil from Alberta south to American refineries. Learn more here.

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