USDA: Surface Transportation Board Sets Schedule For April 26-27 Hearing on Rail Service Issues

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on April 20 posted a schedule of appearances for its April 26-27 hearing on “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service.”

A number of metrics from STB continue to show notable signs of deteriorated rail service.

Across the seven Class I railroads, compared to the same week last year, grain train speeds are down 6%; grain origin dwell times are up 22%; the number of grain cars not moved in over 48 hours is up 32%; and the number of unfilled shipper orders for empty cars is up 101%.

With these delays, grain shippers have increasingly turned to the secondary railcar auction markets to get their cars on time.

In the week ending April 14, bids for railcar delivery in April reached $3,750 — more than $3,000 above average (GTR fig. 4).

USDA’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, agricultural industry representatives, and six Class I railroads will provide testimony on these issues in the hearing next week.

The hearing is open to the public and will be livestreamed on STB’s YouTube page.

This article comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) April 21, 2022, Grain Transportation Report.