STB plans hearing on rate complaint procedures for grain shippers

By Erin Voegele | May 26, 2015

The Surface Transportation Board has announced it will hold a public hearing on June 10 in Washington, D.C., to examine issues related to the accessibility of rate compliant procedures for grain shippers.

A notice posted in the Federal Register indicates the event may extend through June 11 if extra time is needed to accommodate all parties wishing to testify. The hearing is open for public observation. Those who would like to speak at the event must file an intent to participate request with the board by May 29.

According to the notice, in late 2103, the STB invited public comment on how to ensure its rate complaint procedures are accessible to grain shippers and provide effective protection against unreasonable freight rail transportation rates. The June 10 meeting is intended to further examine the issue and provide interested persons the opportunity to comment on the modifications to existing procedures and the alternative rate relief methodologies proposed during the public comment period.

The STB also specified parties should be prepared to discuss jurisdictional threshold, the definition of grain, and modifications and alternatives to the three-benchmark approach in grain rates cases, revenue adequacy, aggregation of claims, and other ideas. Regarding the definition for grain, some have commenters have argued for an expansive definition of grain that includes both grain and grain products, such as ethanol. “Because certain grain products, such as ethanol, require different treatment in terms of railroad operations, interested parties should be prepared to discuss whether an expansive definition of ‘grain’ is appropriate in this proceeding,” said the STB in the notice.

Additional information on the meeting is available on the Federal Register website.