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‘Current State of Freight Rail Is Not Great’: STB Chair

By Admin

Reported by Kari Hamanaka for Sourcing Journal.

Surface Transportation Board (STB) chair Marty Oberman didn’t sound optimistic Friday about the state of rail , but vowed the STB is doing what it can to right mounting railroad congestion issues.

“We’re using every tool that we have available at the board to oversee this and to hold the railroads accountable,” Oberman said Friday during a rail-focused roundtable organized by the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO union that also included several port and rail labor leaders.

The STB is the federal agency that regulates mostly freight rail , but ultimately has reach across all modes of surface transportation.

“Despite the hard work of our nation’s dedicated rail and port workers, there is a looming cargo logjam just as retailers are gearing up for a busy holiday season,” Transportation Trades Department president Greg Regan said during the roundtable.

Regan cited an estimate from the Port of Los Angeles that it will likely take between four and six weeks for the port’s rail-related cargo backlog to be cleared from terminals.

The Port of Los Angeles reported 33,601 containers waiting to be loaded onto a train on Friday, up 1 percent from the previous day.

“I’m sad to say that the current state of freight rail is not great. To put this in [a] short-term perspective, freight rail service has been less than robust over the last couple of years and really has deteriorated to the point of causing urgent problems for a number of rail customers,” Oberman said.

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