STB Weekly Rail Data Service Reports
Union Pacific has a robust transportation plan designed to maximize its railroad fluidity and capacity for safe and efficient freight delivery for its customers. Union Pacific regularly communicates with customers to understand their needs in a growing and dynamic market. Service is a critical part of UP's value proposition, and the company continually works with customers to ensure it is best meeting their needs with available resources.
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued an order October 8, 2014, requiring all Class 1 railroads to report more than 500 data points of service-based statistics on a weekly basis. The order is the result of the STB's concern with rail industry service levels this year. Although Union Pacific has handled significantly increased demand across its network in 2014, service levels have fallen short of the company's and the customers' expectations. Union Pacific activated surge resources, expanded hiring plans and increased its capital spending plan to a record $4.1 billion this year to address current and future growth from customers.
The rail industry already is one of America's most transparent when it comes to publicly disclosing performance data. In addition, Union Pacific has regular communication with customers regarding service performance for their businesses, and UP provides tools for customers to monitor their current shipments and historical service trends. Introducing more than 500 new data points, as the STB has done, without developing comprehensive reporting parameters runs the risk of creating confusion and complaints that are based on inconsistent or misunderstood data.
Union Pacific believes the STB's order is not a valid rule because it was issued without following federal procedures for notice and comment. UP also believes the STB should engage all stakeholders through the normal notice and comment procedures and craft reporting requirements better tailored to meet the STB's objectives.
Despite Union Pacific's misgivings that the STB's order will foster more confusion about rail performance data and undermine the hoped-for benefits, the company is voluntarily providing a significant amount of additional performance data.