Today, National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Gibson released the following statement commending the Surface Transportation Board for issuing its proposed rule on Reciprocal Shipping for Inadequate Service:

“U.S. businesses – including the companies who deliver the chemical ingredients essential to our daily lives – count on reliable, efficient, and dependable rail service. NACD has long advocated for reforms to the rail system that would enhance service and increase competition. Competitive switching, or reciprocal switching – a process by which shippers currently served by only one major rail carrier can gain access to another rail carrier – will do just that, as long as there is a realistic threshold to obtain competitive switching approval.

“NACD is particularly pleased with the Board’s focus on improving rail service in the new proposal. As service has deteriorated over the past several years, NACD and our members have actively participated in the Board’s proceedings to address these issues, including EP 770, Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service and EP 767, First-Mile / Last-Mile Service.

“NACD appreciates that the STB proposed rule not only provides a path for rail customers to access reciprocal shipping agreements but does so by establishing clear and measurable service metrics for reliability of on-time deliveries, consistency on transit time, and performance regarding local deliveries. NACD members have experienced severe delays in each of these areas in recent years. The proposed rule will provide relief to rail customers by giving the Class I railroads a strong incentive to improve service. If the railroads fail to do so, rail customers will have a path to seeking alternative arrangements through reciprocal switching agreements with other carriers.

“While NACD is still carefully reviewing the STB’s proposal and looks forward to providing comments, we thank the Board for this positive step toward granting a much-needed infusion of competition for shippers and receivers.”