CSX UNIT'S APPLICATION TO BUY BARGE OPERATOR GETS ICC NOD

CSX UNIT'S APPLICATION TO BUY BARGE OPERATOR GETS ICC NOD

American Commercial Lines, the nation's largest barge line, is a step closer to acquiring the fifth largest, Valley Line Co., thanks to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The commission voted Friday to accept the acquisition application by ACL, a

CSX Corp. subsidiary. It also ruled that the proceeding would be considered under the expedited 150-day schedule governing "minor" transactions set out in the Panama Canal Act.The act allows rail-water combinations unless they have an adverse effect on competition.

ACL's largest competitor, Ohio River Co., had petitioned the ICC to throw out the acquisition application on grounds it failed to provide sufficient information on freight traffic handled by CSX and ACL and the impact that the transaction would have on competition.

Ohio River also wanted the ICC to regard the proposed acquisition as ''significant" under commission regulations and therefore subject to more extensive filing requirements and a 270-day procedural schedule.

CSX has estimated that ACL and Valley Line combined would control 12.2 percent of all tonnage moved on the Mississippi River. Ohio River has said the merged companies would control as much as 20 percent of Mississippi River barge traffic.