The National Industrial Transportation League will keep pressing for changes to railroad switching rules it calls anti-competitive, despite the Surface Transportation Board’s deferral of a NITL petition, President Bruce Carlton said Monday.
“We are not asking for open access or forced access across networks, we are asking them to carve out on the margin a competitive component,” Carlton said at a press conference at the Intermodal Expo/TransComp conference in Atlanta.
“In freight rail, we need a greater degree of competition in the market,” he said.
The shipper group wants the rail regulatory body to reform rules that allow originating carriers to lock in shipments all the way to distant destinations. Shippers say that keeps many loads captive to one railroad and raises their rates.
The NITL filed a petition in July aimed at making some freight switching more competitive. The board, however chose to delay any decision on the proposal while it considers a broader set of rail and shipper issues it is already reviewing.
“We’re not giving up this fight, there’s no way to step back from it,” Carlton said.
However, as the STB deferred any decision on the petition without rejecting it outright, there’s no clear path for a challenge, Carlton pointed out. “It’s hard to appeal a non-call,” he said.