Hoeven: CP Railway Needs to Add Resources, Too

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP) needs to add resources to meet the growing demand for shipping in North Dakota, and also needs to change its method of reserving cars and tracking orders in a way that is fair and transparent to shippers.

“We have pushed BNSF to add resources, which they are doing, and we are pushing CP to make the same kind of commitment to meeting the needs of our agriculture shippers,” Hoeven said. “Our business needs are growing, so Canadian Pacific needs to be clear about how many more railcars, locomotives and personnel they plan to devote to our market.”

Hoeven and his staff have had ongoing discussions with Canadian Pacific officials this year to push for better service and more transparency in the system they use to report backlogs. He will make the same point Thursday at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) hearing in Fargo.

Hoeven has been working since this past spring to address delays in rail shipping, first by urging BNSF to ensure timely delivery of fertilizer and other products needed for spring planting. In July, the senator met with STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott to address concerns about backlogs on agriculture rail shipments and, in a separate meeting, asked BNSF Chairman Matt Rose to dedicate additional resources to resolve the delays. Rose committed to spot 450 cars per day and offer more shuttles this fall than in 2013 to relieve past due agriculture shipments.

Last month, Hoeven hosted two roundtables with rail industry executives, agricultural producers and commodity groups in North Dakota about improving rail service in the state and the impacts of shipping delays. During those meetings, Hoeven emphasized the importance of addressing the backlog prior to the fall harvest, which will significantly increase the demands on the already overburdened rail system.