NS Talks With STB About Reciprocal Switching

Norfolk Southern has responded to a series of questions posed by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board regarding reciprocal switching regulations that the Board is considering adopting.

The Class 1 carrier did not outright oppose such a regulation but raised a number of concerns about it, including the adverse effects it could have on operations and differential pricing.

Reciprocal switching would mandate that a railroad with sole physical access to a particular shipper allow another carrier to switch the shipper’s cars to a junction point with the competing railroad.

The practice, which has been common in Canada for several years, has been supported by many shippers as a way to increase competitiveness.

Railway Age reported that NS and STB officials met in December to discuss proposed reciprocal switching regulations.

Similar meetings have been held in the past year between STB officials and those in various shipper organizations.

During their meeting with the STB, NS executives said reciprocal switching might be justified if a railroad was engaging in anticompetitive conduct and refusing to provide customers an efficient route for their freight.

However, NS said that remedies to such scenarios already exist under existing law and the STB already has mechanisms in place “to test the lawfulness of rates.”

It also said instituting reciprocal switching might serve the public interest in a few isolated cases.

Further information about the meeting and the position  that NS adopted in the article at https://www.railwayage.com/regulatory/ns-stb-talk-reciprocal-switching/

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