STB to Examine Grain Transport

WASHINGTON – The Surface Transportation Board will hold a Nov. 2 hearing to discuss issues related to the transportation of grain by railroad.

On Oct. 6, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on rates, competition, and capacity issues in the American rail freight industry. According to the GAO preliminary report, the amount of grain traffic with comparatively high markups over variable cost increased notably between 1985 and 2004.

Although GAO reported that changes that have occurred in the rail industry since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 are widely viewed as positive – with a healthier industry generally charging lower rates – it found that grain rates have diverged from industry trends.

The STB’s Nov. 2 hearing will serve as a forum for interested persons to provide views and information about the market conditions that led to GAO’s observations, and about grain transportation markets in general.

Because U.S. grain producers compete in a broader North American, and global, marketplace, the agency also invites information regarding the interplay between the American and Canadian wheat markets, how the Canadian regulatory system differs from the American system, and what impact those differences might have on grain production in the U.S.

– Special to News Wire