U.S. soy shippers say rail service improved


The U.S. Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) says it’s pleased with recent improvements to rail service, and is giving especially high marks to Canadian Pacific Railway (CP).

Last week, the STC and the University of Minnesota concluded the research project “2014 Harvest: Attaching a Garden Hose to a Fire Hydrant,” which was started due to U.S. rail service problems last year.

Between November 2014 and April 2015, 42 grain handling facilities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska completed biweekly reports on their rail service.

“Fortunately, the rail service disruptions from 2014 have not been repeated,” STC executive director Mike Steenhoek said in a release. “Rail service metrics have dramatically improved across the board. Railroads responded to last year’s challenges with an aggressive level of investment. This has clearly paid dividends.”

The STC release said five factors contributed to the improvement, including how railroads have responded to demand.

In one of the recent survey periods, one of the participants stated, “CP is turning like we’ve never seen before. Loads are pulled more promptly. BN (BNSF Railway) is about the same; they have improved on pulling loaded trains quicker.” Another survey respondent said, “Actually very pleased with both Class I railroads (BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway).”

Other factors included a longer harvest season, farmers storing grain because of lower prices, better weather and a smaller harvest in 2014. — AGCanada.com Network


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