NFU Signs Coalition Letter Supporting Competitive Rail Markets

by 5m Editor
29 July 2013, at 8:03am

US - National Farmers Union (NFU) was among a group of 37 organizations that sent a letter to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation urging action to strengthen competition in the US rail transportation market.

"Family farmers and ranchers – and the rural communities in which they live – need access to fair rates for rail shipments," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "NFU has long advocated for the protection of captive shippers, and federal regulators haven’t kept pace with an increasingly anti-competitive business climate for users of rail transportation."

The top four shippers control ninety per cent of freight rail service, and 78 per cent of the 28,000 places where cargo is picked up have access to only one rail carrier. Not coincidentally, rail rates have increased two-and-a-half times more than both trucking rates and inflation.

The joint letter stated: "Lack of competition in the freight rail industry is hurting American manufacturers and producers. Importers frequently pay lower rates for transporting their foreign-made goods inside the United States than US producers and manufacturers that often are dependent on a single railroad for service. Moreover, excessive domestic rail rates are making our exports less competitive in the world marketplace, cost American jobs and drive up the prices American consumers pay for a wide range of products from electricity to food. The nation needs a pro-competitive national freight rail transportation system to ensure fair prices and reasonable service for rail dependent shippers."