The Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced Nov. 12 it would hold a two-day public hearing on competitive switching March 15-16 in Washington, DC.
Competitive switching refers to a shipper’s ability to access an alternate railroad through its incumbent railroad.
For example, in Canada, shippers within 30 kilometers (18 miles) of an interchange with another carrier can switch carriers, and the incumbent railroad is compensated at a pre-determined rate.
In the United States, competitive switching is currently available, but the conditions under which STB grants access are less clear.
The STB can mandate a competitive switch, but a shipper must demonstrate uncompetitive conduct by the railroad.
Few requests have been filed in the United States, and none have been granted.