ARLINGTON, VA, May 6, 2022 – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today applauded the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for implementing reporting requirements to address rail service issues.
STB announced today that it will require all Class I carriers to submit several specific reports on rail service, performance, and employment. In addition, BNSF, CSX, NS, and UP are required to submit service recovery plans, progress reports, historical data, and participate in bi-weekly conference calls with Board staff.
“NGFA members continue to experience rail service issues in many areas of the country impacting feed availability for livestock, exports and processing facilities for food and fuel,” NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert said in response to STB’s announcement. “The additional transparency should help the Board with its oversight and help shippers and receivers more efficiently plan operations and more accurately gauge when contingency plans are needed.”
Seyfert testified on behalf of NGFA members during the “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service” hearing called by STB Chairman Martin Oberman on April 26-27. During his testimony Seyfert told STB members the costs to NGFA members due to lost revenue and additional freight expenses were estimated to be over $100 million in the first quarter of 2022.
“Since the STB hearing on April 26-27, we have heard from NGFA members of continuing, and in some cases worsening, rail service issues,” Seyfert continued. “Today’s announcement is an important first step to getting rail service back on track. NGFA thanks Chairman Oberman, Vice Chair Michelle Schultz and Board members Patrick Fuchs, Robert Primus, and Karen Hedlund for their quick response to this issue. NGFA also thanks USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh for their work emphasizing the importance of reliable rail service to U.S. agriculture.”
In addition to Seyfert’s testimony on April 26, NGFA urged the Board to address inadequate rail service in a March 24 letter to Chairman Oberman and led another letter signed by members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group on April 21 outlining several proposals to improve rail service.