BNSF Railway implemented a “permit embargo” to control movement of export grain shipments to backed-up seaports in the Pacific Northwest, after heavy rains slowed ship loadings.
The company told customers that the new rules, in which grain shippers have to request permits to arrange railcar transportation, took effect Nov. 23 and “will be used to manage the logistics pipeline during this period of adverse weather.”
The lengthy rainstorms have affected some standing crops but they can also clog ocean terminal activities. Grain usually moves in covered hopper railcars but can be exposed to moisture during ship loadings, and that can damage the cargo.
BNSF said its embargo covers shipments to Oregon destinations of Portland and Albina, and in Washington to Tacoma, Vancouver, Interbay, Kalama and Longview. It applies to cargoes of corn, milo, sorghum and wheat.
Using the permit request system, BNSF said, will give its agricultural operations team “a mechanism to work through the current backlog in an orderly manner.”
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