The American Bakers Association (ABA) urged the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to continue its oversight of the freight rail shipping crisis and work with the Senate to pass the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2014.

“Bakers have struggled to receive flour shipments in a timely fashion, which is a major concern for the baking industry,” says Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO. “Conservative estimates show that this may cost the baking industry between $400 [million] and $500 million this year alone, if shipping concerns are not addressed.”

“Giving the Surface Transportation Board (STB) authority to launch investigations before a costly complaint is filed is a critical step in holding railroads accountable for the lack of adequate service,” says Cory Martin, ABA director of government relations. “In addition, making it easier for STB members to communicate with one another and improving the dispute resolution process between shippers and the railroads are necessary to improve the STB’s ability to serve all parties reliant upon railway shipping.

“The baking industry’s business model is built on certainty in transportation. Unfortunately, with the current pace of service recovery, the backlog will most likely continue and possibly even increase in severity and impact on the industry through next summer, unless the STB is able to hold the railroads accountable to all their customers’ needs.”

ABA says it will continue to work with members of Congress and the STB to ensure that appropriate action is taken to bring relief to the baking industry.

Source: American Bakers Association