Hoeven Hosts Roundtable to Update Ag Producers on BNSF Efforts to Improve Shipping, Upgrade Infrastructure

Senator Brings BNSF Chairman to Fargo to Meet with Farmers, Ranchers, Commodity Groups

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today hosted a roundtable in Fargo with BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose and a large gathering of North Dakota agriculture stakeholders. The senator asked Rose to update them on BNSF’s efforts to relieve the backlog of agriculture shipments and implement infrastructure upgrades to improve rail service and public safety.

“We have been pushing BNSF to make the kinds of capital investments necessary to serve North Dakota’s growing and dynamic economy,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we asked Chairman Rose to return to North Dakota to make sure our producers stay informed about what BNSF is doing to improve service in our market, not only now but into the future.”

Earlier this year, Hoeven secured a commitment from BNSF to invest $5 billion in rail infrastructure, including $400 million in North Dakota to expand rail capacity for shippers, replace and maintain network infrastructure and continue the implementation of Positive Train Control technology to enhance safety and efficiency. The railroad recently reported improvements in some of its critical performance measures and completion of significant track expansions.

Hoeven has been working with BNSF since this past spring to address delays in rail shipping, when he urged BNSF to ensure timely delivery of fertilizer and other products needed for spring planting.

Today’s roundtable followed a similar meeting in August at which Hoeven’s pressed Executive Chairman Rose to solve the shipping problems and hear directly from the state’s agriculture commodity groups how the railroad can better serve their needs. BNSF committed to spot 450 cars per day and offered more shuttles for the fall than they did in 2013 to relieve past due shipments.

As of mid-July 31, BNSF had about 4,000 cars past due. By early August, the railroad had reduced late cars to just fewer than 1,656 and they were an average of 22 days late. As of November 1, the railroad had 3,334 cars outstanding owing to harvest and they were an average of 15 days late.