Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rail Freight Summary on Recent Developments in the UK and US

A Record Harvest, a New Energy Deal and an Eerie Silence from Scotland
Shipping News Feature
UK – US – Rail freight in both the US and the UK have in the last few days witnessed a few new developments. In the US, the Midwest states are reporting a record harvest and a surge in food exports that has seen railroad operators running at full capacity, whilst CSX has once again been recognised as a major supporter of military veterans. In the UK GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced the signing of a deal with a global energy company.

Farmers across the Midwestern States are reporting that crops of grain and soya are up 6.5% this year thanks to good weather during the growing season. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) a new record was set in October when 26,000 carloads a week of produce was being shipped. Railcar lessors GATX have stated that every single one of its hireable grain cars has seen use in the third quarter of this year and railroad operator CSX has said that it has shipped 27% more grain in that period in comparison to the same quarter of last year.

On the subject of CSX the company has been once again been named a Military Friendly® Employer by Victory Media, the eighth consecutive year that CSX has been recognised on the list. The recognition is for the company’s commitment to employing veterans, National Guard and Reservists. Diana Sorfleet, Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at CSX said:

“We are incredibly proud that nearly one in five CSX employees has defended and protected our nation, and CSX is committed to providing veterans with meaningful work and the resources to realise their career goals.”

In the UK GBRf, which was recently taken over by Swedish investment fund EQT, has announced it has signed two-year deal with global energy company Puma Energy to run fuels services from Interterminals, Immingham. John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

"We are pleased to announce this new deal with Puma Energy to support the delivery of fuels from the terminal at Immingham docks. We've grown extensively over the past few years driven by a number of factors, including strong relationships with leading companies like Puma.”

Meanwhile we await confirmation as to the current situation regarding the proposed Railfreight terminal east of the City of Glasgow at Mossend in North Lanarkshire. In August we outlined how a planning appeal was remitted by the Court of Session to the Scottish Ministers who had previously agreed it, with the usual problems and delays faced by such proposed developments in the UK, some of which ultimately prove successful, and some which do not.

The Court commented at the time that Ministers ‘failed to give proper, adequate and intelligible reasons for their decision’ after the Ministers first commissioned a report yet, after this recommended refusal of the plans, proceeded to ignore its findings. We await with interest a decision in a controversial matter which has the loss of Green Belt land at its contentious heart.