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Surface Transportation Board Hears from Shippers

The Surface transportation Board (STB) requested comments earlier this year from captive shippers about their proposal to revoke the exemptions for several commodities including ferrous scrap.

ISRI and its members submitted comments correcting several suggestions about the transportation needs and practices of the ferrous scrap recycling industry. Some of these rebuttals included the routine nature of rail use by ferrous scrap recyclers and the distances materials are shipped. The railroad industry, through its association and by individual members, suggested that scrap processors ship the same amount of material to the same steel mills without any seasonal variations. ISRI countered these suggestions pointing out that scrap materials often arrive at the processing facilities by rail, travel for further processing by rail, and then to various steel mills depending on what the needs of those mills are at that point in the year. ISRI also pointed out that scrap processors often use rail to reach customers across the country rather than simply in a small network of a few hundred miles. Moreover, trucking this material for long distances is simply not practical or cost effective. The STB is not bound to a regulatory timeframe to arrive at its final decision. In addition, the incoming Trump administration will be able to appoint new commissioners to the Board which may change the dynamic of the STB especially after the STB’s board was expanded by law earlier this year. Another issues brought up by the STB is the “Switching” rule. Commenters have joined together to provide evidence of excessive costs and delays as a result of switching between rail carriers. This rule is also subject to the Board’s approval after new commissioners have been appointed.

Ferrous Beat Main

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