<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>96 WWC Provides Comments on Rail Capacity, WWC Staff, Wheat Life</TITLE> </HEAD> <body bgcolor="FFFFFF" text="000000" link="0000FF" vlink="FF0000" alink="0000FF"> <basefont face="Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman" size="3" color="#000033"> <TABLE border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0"> <TR align="left" valign="top"> <td><small> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/thefilm.htm">the film</A><br> <A href="forum.htm">forum</A><br> <A href="library.htm">library</A><br> <A href="tutorial.htm">tutorial</A><br> <A href="contact.htm">contact</A> </small></td> <TD> <A href="economic.htm"><img src="images/economic.gif" border="0" width="110" height="110" align="center" alt="Economic and dam related articles"></a> <TD> <CENTER><FONT FACE="Arial, Helvetica" COLOR="0000FF"> <strong><BIG><H2 align="center">WWC Provides Comments on Rail Capacity</H2> </BIG></STRONG></FONT><FONT COLOR="FF0000">by WWC Staff <BR>Wheat Life, June 2006</FONT></CENTER> </TABLE> <HR> <P align="left"> The Washington Wheat Commission provided comments recently during a regional listening session on the Washington State Rail Capacity and System Needs Study. The comments emphasized that constrained rail capacity is, in fact, hampering the state and shippers. As Class I carriers have begun to allocate capacity by shedding some traffic for better paying freight, it is the traditional, heavy loading, hard-on-pavement carload business that is most at risk of being shifted from rail to highway.

Important rail issues and challenges faced by the state were highlighted, ranging from not enough double track and lack of rail-to-rail competition (which promotes monopoly pricing and select service, to shortline health, which is often a function of Class I railroad policies), the de-marketing of freight through rate setting and constrained economic development.

Strategic opportunities for the state include leverage to ensure Washington shippers are served. Financial partnering efforts between the state and railroad companies to address capacity issues must result in commitment/agreements to serve all Washington shippers. The WWC encouraged the state to foster competition (within modes and between modes); support federal efforts to increase competition in rail transportation; and support shoreline rail as a competitive alternative and ensure the Snake/Columbia River system remains intact as a viable transport mode.

Noting that the rail infrastructure has been methodically reduced while demand has increased, it appears that constrained capacity might be the railroad's preferred profit-maximizing model. Reference has been made that even Wall Street investors, for the most part, want railroads to keep their capacity tight, so as not to erode their pricing power. This "power" is simply monopoly pricing power resulting in the state's grain handling system assets being underutilized as shippers are priced out of shipping by smaller rail units. Concern was expressed that in solving bottlenecks and constraints, Washington state must ensure that its shippers are served and not just become a bridge state for product originating and destined elsewhere. Updates on the Rail Capacity and Needs Study can be found at www.wstc.wa.gov/Rail/default.htm.

<HR> <strong>WWC Staff</strong><br> <A href="http://www.wheatlifemagazine.com/0306/pg64_0306.pdf"> <I>WWC Provides Comments on Rail Capacity</I></a><BR> <strong>Wheat Life</STRONG>, March 2006 <HR> <P align="center"><CENTER> <BIG><strong>See what you can learn</STRONG></BIG><P> <A href="topic.htm">learn more on topics covered in the film</A><BR> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/video.htm">see the video</A><BR> <A href="script.htm">read the script</A><BR> <A href="songs.htm">learn the songs</A><BR> <A href="forum.htm">discussion forum</A><BR> <IMG src="salmon_swimming_md_wht.gif" width=150 height=70 alt="salmon animation"> </CENTER> </basefont> </body> </HTML>