Freight Delays Cost Washington Jobs
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
During a recent hearing regarding delays in freight rail service nationwide U.S. Senator for Washington Maria Cantwell questioned top rail industry executive Ed Hamberger whether railroads are investing enough in infrastructure; as increasing delays in freight rail traffic, due largely in part to a dramatic surge in rail shipments of crude oil, have impacted shipments of goods nationwide, recently forcing Cold Train, an agriculture shipper in Quincy, to suspend rail service and cut 80 jobs.
CANTWELL: They obviously ship a lot of our apples, and cherries, and potatoes, and carrots in refrigerated containers to the Chicago market and they were guaranteed fast delivery time. In fact, they had such a successful business that in 2010 they shipped about a 1,000 of those containers, and then they went in 2013 to 7,000 containers. So they obviously were expecting to do more, but with this very poor performance they basically went out of business.
Cantwell went on to stress that the nation’s seven Class I railroads, including BNSF Railway and Union Pacific, which operate in Washington state, reported $68 billion in total revenues in 2012, and yet businesses such as Cold Train aren’t being protected from rail congestion.
Washington contains more than 3,000 miles of railroad line, which provide a vital mode of transportation for agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and forest products, as well as wholesale and retail trade.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.