Yesterday Congressman Kevin Cramer met with BNSF President and CEO Carl Ice to discuss what the rail company is doing to reduce ongoing delays of grain shipments in North Dakota. During the meeting Cramer pressed Ice on BNSF’s pledge to clear the backlog of last year’s crop before the new harvest begins, asked for a progress update on the company’s hiring of additional employees, and discussed the new rule for oil by rail shipments proposed yesterday.
“Given we are fast approaching the next harvest and the last report from BNSF still indicated a backlog of more than 3,900 cars, time is running out on their promise to have it cleared by then,” said Cramer. “During my meeting with Carl Ice I relayed my concerns as well as those I have heard from farmers and grain shippers across the state. He informed me BNSF has now completed more than 40 miles of double tracking between Minot and Glasgow as part of its $1 billion expansion in the northern region and is on track with their other planned improvements. I appreciate these efforts to ensure their system is in the best possible shape in order to move what appears to be another bumper harvest. We also discussed the proposed rule for oil by rail shipments released yesterday, which may have an impact on agriculture shipments.”
BNSF is engaged in a $1 billion expansion and maintenance program in the northern region. As part of this effort to grow capacity, they plan to complete 60 miles of double track between Minot and Glasgow by October.
Since June, BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have been required by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) to publicly file weekly status updates on the backlog in grain shipments. The latest figures from BNSF show a total of 3,908 past due rail cars in North Dakota averaging 26.6 days late as of July 17, compared to the report last week which indicated 4,561 past due cars were averaging 30.2 days late. The CP report shows a total of 23,761 open requests in North Dakota with an average age of 10.72 weeks. The previous report showed 24,280 open requests with an average age of 10.14 weeks.Share