TFI praises Congress leadership for efforts to address railroad service issues

Mark Milam


HOUSTON (ICIS)–The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) said it was praising the bipartisan leadership efforts of Congressmen Ralph Norman and Jim Costa for their work in organising a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding poor rail service.

The trade group, which representing the domestic fertilizer industry, said ongoing failures by the railroad companies are having a negative impact on the industry and their movement of vital products, which as a result is have consequences for the overall agricultural sector.

“With over half of all fertilizer moving by rail, we are grateful for the leadership of Congressmen Norman and Costa in bringing the issue of inconsistent rail service to the attention of the STB,” said Corey Rosenbusch, TFI President and CEO.

“Their dedication to working with all stakeholders will help ensure that essential crop nutrient inputs reach farmers when and where they need them.”

TFI said fertilizer shipments rely heavily on rail to reach farmers, but imposed restrictions, along with skeleton crews and railroad-led initiatives such as precision-scheduled railroading have forced fertilizer shipping reductions and potential production delays.

“Fertilizer is attributable to half of all crop yields. With the world leaning on US farmers now more than ever before to feed our growing population, we must ensure strong yields and our food security,” Rosenbusch said.

“Fertilizer must reach farmers in a timely manner and crop harvests also need to get to their destinations, including the kitchen table.”

The letter to the STB was signed by 51 members of Congress and it noted that during the late April STB hearing on rail service a variety of industries, including grain and feed and fertilizer producers, reported severe service problems with most of the Class I rail carriers.

It highlighted that TFI had said recent service problems, and imposed restrictions have forced shipping reductions and potential production delays. This not only can restrict supply but can raise costs on the farmers who rely on this necessary input for 50% of their crop yields.

Warning about future and further consequences, the STB was told that by placing onerous restrictions on shippers without consulting customers that railroads may “run the risk of jeopardising family farms and increasing the cost of food for consumers.”

The letter closed by stressing to the STB that “rail service must be improved, and we appreciate the STB’s attention to this matter. While we respect the challenges of operating a major railroad, communication is essential when taking steps to make the necessary improvements, including the imposition of service curtailments.”

“As we work toward solutions to meet the ongoing supply chain challenges, carriers and the STB should also be mindful of essential commodities and our country’s best public interest.”


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