The Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold an in-person public hearing on December 13 and 14, 2022, with Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), regarding the railroad’s substantial increase in its use of embargoes as a method of reducing rail traffic congestion.
The STB says that UP’s use of embargoes to control congestion has increased from a total of five in 2017 to more than 1,000 to date in 2022, and says it has received numerous reports that shippers are suffering supply chain problems as a result of the embargoes that are hampering their operations.
An Association of American Railroads embargo is a temporary method of controlling traffic movements when in the judgment of the serving railroad threatens congestion, accumulation or other interference with operations such as track, bridge or other physical impairments that warrant restrictions.
The STB says that, since UP carries nearly 27% of freight served by rail and nearly 11% of all long-distance freight volume, “disruptions in UP’s service levels have a significant detrimental impact on the supply chain and the nation’s economy. The Board has been closely monitoring UP’s usage of embargoes and has noticed a disturbing upward trend in their usage in recent years,” the November 22 statement continued
The STB is directing UP CEO Lance Fritz and other top executive-level officials of UP to appear at the hearing and expects to hear testimony on topics including, but not limited to, the railroad’s decision-making process in determining whether to issue an embargo, data inputs, its consideration of shippers’ operational needs, and explanations for the dramatic increase in embargoes since 2017. The Board also invites testimony from shippers and other stakeholders who can contribute to the Board’s understanding of the cause and/or impact of the embargoes.
The public hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET on December 13 and 14, 2022, in the Hearing Room of the Board’s headquarters, located at 395 E Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20423.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.