BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific have reported backlogs of almost 2,400 cars between them, according to published reports. Both railroads maintain that oil shipments have not replaced crop shipments but farmers and shippers are applying pressure in an attempt to get product to market.
On Thursday, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing in Fargo, ND, where farmers and shippers can voice concern. CP and BNSF representatives are expected to attend.
While oil production from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and other U.S. North American oil plays have commanded significant track time, America’s grain belt has been churning at a record pace. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture said that total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) from all major export regions reached for the week ending Aug. 21 were up 51 percent from last year and 22 percent above the three-year average. Total inspections were 1.81 million metric tons, an 11 percent increase from the previous week.