Regulators say CSX service is improving as shipper complaints fall

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WASHINGTON — Shipper complaints about CSX Transportation have dropped in recent weeks as the railroad’s service continues to improve, a top federal regulator said this week.

The Surface Transportation Board has received “very few calls” regarding CSX service in the past few weeks, Acting Chairman Ann Begeman wrote in a letter to the American Chemistry Council on Monday.

The Surface Transportation Board will continue to monitor CSX service levels on a weekly basis, as it has done since August, when the railroad experienced widespread disruptions amid the rapid rollout of Precision Scheduled Railroading under then-CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

But as soon as April the board will decide whether to modify its oversight, which includes a weekly conference call with railroad officials and mandatory reporting on a host of performance metrics.

CSX CEO Jim Foote met with Begeman on Feb. 1 and discussed the railroad’s progress.

“I appreciated that Mr. Foote clearly acknowledged the service problems that have occurred and stressed that CSX is working to address service issues and restore customer confidence,” Begeman wrote. “CSX's weekly metrics have shown significant improvements during the last few months, and I am hopeful that CSX's service and communication will continue trending in a positive direction.”

Begeman was responding to a Feb. 9 letter from American Chemistry Council CEO Cal Dooley.

A majority of chemical shippers experienced significant service disruptions on CSX in December and January, Dooley wrote, with delays forcing some plants to curtail production or divert shipments to truck in order to prevent shutdowns.

In its letter, the trade group cited examples from four shippers who experienced erratic service and delays.

Begeman urged the four companies, and any other shipper with service issues, to contact the board so the problems can be addressed.

CSX echoed those comments.

“We are pleased that the STB has acknowledged the improvement in our service metrics and we encourage any [chemistry council] member company experiencing issues with CSX to contact us directly,” a CSX spokesman says. “If there is a misunderstanding, then we can clear it up. If there is something more that we must do, then we will make every effort to meet and exceed that customer’s expectation.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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