Harrison Acknowledges to Shippers CSX Service Issues

CSX head E. Hunter Harrison acknowledged to the railroad’s shippers on Monday that service problems exist and tried to assure then that the carrier is committed to “working with you individually to ensure you receive the support you require to meet your business needs.”

Harrison reached out to shippers in an email message that seemed to blame the service issues on a few people at CSX who have pushed back against the changes he brought and continue to do.

The email said most CSX employees and managers have embraced changes in the operating philosophy which have, among other things, resulted in longer trains and a phasing out of hump operations in classification yards in favor of flat switching.

“To those customers that have experienced such issues, we sincerely apologize,” Harrison wrote. “As we move forward, we will continue to address these internal personnel matters and our teams have recommitted themselves to reaching out to those affected to work through any service issues and resolve them as quickly as possible.”

The email comes in the wake of the Surface Transportation Board saying that it was more closely monitoring CSX service because of numerous informal complaints that it has received.

Trains magazine reported that one chemical shipper said that it had not seen service so poor since the carve-up of Conrail in 1999 by Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Arch Coal also complained about shoddy service. “We started seeing problems toward the tail end of Q2 and, frankly, the problems have gotten worse in the last 10 days,” Arch Coal President Paul Lang during his company’s second-quarter earnings call last week.

Lang said domestic and export shipments of coal have been adversely affected.

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