Posts Tagged ‘National Grain and Feed Association’

Grain Shippers Complain About Poor Service

March 29, 2022

 A shippers group has written to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to complain about poor service being offered to grain producers by three Class 1 railroads.

The letter was sent by the National Grain and Feed Association and said crew shortages related to the practice of precision scheduled railroading have led some of its members to shut down flour mills and feed mills.

“At rail origins, NGFA members are unable to purchase grain from farmers because they are full while awaiting loaded trains to be moved out by the railroad,” CEO Michael Seyfert said in the letter addressed to STB Chairman Martin Oberman.

In some cases, the letter said, livestock producers lack alternatives to rail-hauled grain shipments.

The letter contained numerous anecdotes of hardships faced by members of the trade association, including a member having to spend $3 million on alternative transportation to try to keep animals fed for a month.

The three railroads named in the letter were Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Union Pacific.

On NS, grain trains were said to have averaged 53.74 hours of delay at origin with an average of four trains held per day. There were 423 loaded grain hoppers and four empties that did not move for 48 hours or more.

In a statement, NS acknowledged having service issues but insisted it is making progress in alleviating them with a large class of conductors in training and offering hiring bonuses in areas where it has worker shortages during a tight labor market.

The letter can be read at https://www.stb.gov/wp-content/uploads/NGFA-Letter-to-STB-Chairman-Oberman-on-Rail-Service-and-Precision-Scheduled-Railroading-March-24-2022.pdf