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Proposed rule would allow shippers to switch railroads

Jul 28, 2016 at 02:58 PM CST

Washington, 27 July (Argus) — US railroad regulators today proposed new rules regarding when rail customers would be allowed to switch railroads mid-shipment, a significant change to current policy that is likely to be challenged by large carriers.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) proposal is in response to a petition filed by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), a shipper group, in 2011.

STB proposed that it review requests by shippers to interchange freight on a case-by-case basis. Shippers would no longer need to show "anti-competitive conduct" by a railroad in order to switch a shipment.

But shippers would need to show that switching a carrier is "practicable and in the public interest." The board would consider the needs of not just the individual shipper but other shippers near a certain terminal and also railroads and the general public.