Hoeven Hosts Roundtable with BNSF, Agricultural Producers on Improving Rail Service, Agriculture Shipments

Senator Hoeven Brings BNSF Chairman to Hear Firsthand from Farmers, Ranchers, Commodity Groups about Importance of Relieving Shipment Backlog before Fall Harvest

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today hosted a roundtable in Fargo with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose, Senator Heidi Heitkamp and North Dakota producers about improving rail service in the state and relieving the backlog of agriculture shipments. 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.

Today’s meeting came as a result of Hoeven’s efforts last month pressing Chairman Rose to solve the shipping problems and asking him and other BNSF officials to come to North Dakota to hear directly from the state’s agriculture commodity groups. During that meeting, BNSF committed to spot 450 cars per day and offer more shuttles this fall than in 2013 to relieve past due agriculture shipments. As of July 31, BNSF had just under 2,400 cars past due in North Dakota, down from 4,000 cars two weeks prior.

“We asked Chairman Rose to come to North Dakota to meet directly with producers, both to hear their concerns and explain what BNSF is doing to fix the delays,” Hoeven said. “The rail industry has made progress on clearing out the backlog, and we will continue to push them to resolve the delays in North Dakota in time for the fall harvest.”

Senator 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.