The Surface Transportation Board took action on Wednesday afternoon in an effort to help relieve the ongoing railroad backlogs that continue to hurt shippers of agricultural products in the upper Great Plains.
The STB stated on their website that this new rule will “promote industry-wide transparency, accountability, and improved service.”
The order requires all Class 1 railroads to begin reporting average speeds, dwell times, number of cars loaded and emptied, as well as weekly number of grain cars ordered, loaded, billed, overdue and canceled in each state starting on October 22nd.
“Although the Board currently monitors various metrics of railroad performance, the Board agrees that there is a need for broader standardized performance data from the railroad industry as it continues to address existing service challenges,” STB said in the order.
This rule comes after a number of meetings were held in Washington, D.C. and the Midwest as farmers, elevators, ethanol plants and other shippers detailed the enormous struggles they have been facing in the past year due to the ongoing lack of available railcars and past-due orders.
“We’re pleased with the action that has been taken by the STB to improve rail service and accountability for our ag and energy shippers who are ultimately dependent on rail,” said South Dakota Corn Growers Association president Keith Alverson. “This order is a good step forward in providing clear answers as to what factors are ultimately causing the delays and backlogs that continue to burden farmers and industry stakeholders.”