In the wake of a hearing in Washington to examine embargo-related service problems on the Union Pacific Railroad Co., the American Chemistry Council is urging rail regulators to look at policy changes.
The Surface Transportation Board held a two-day hearing Dec. 13-14 to examine what it said are reports from shippers of supply chain problems stemming from the railroad's substantial increase in embargoes—a method of controlling traffic movements that when, in the railroad's judgment, there is a threat of congestion or other issues affecting travel warrant temporary changes to planned shipping in the area.
The STB said Union Pacific has declared more than 1,000 embargoes this year, compared with five in 2017.
Testimony at the hearing indicated a steep increase in embargoes throughout the larger Class 1 railroads, with a heavy focus on Union Pacific.
During the first day of the hearing, for example, maps showed embargoes in effect on Nov. 14, and then five days later, a large increase in embargoes.
During the hearing, STB board members questioned how the embargoes were impacting the supply chain, while the railroad claimed it was suffering from labor shortages.
Lance Fritz, UP's chairman, president and CEO, addressed the hearing.