Gov. Jack Dalrymple late Thursday told BNSF Railway officials they need to make major improvements in their service to North Dakota's grain elevators, mills and to shippers of other goods including coal and sugar.
Dalrymple told BNSF officials that long delays in rail car arrivals are creating serious hardships for many North Dakota shippers and their customers. Grain elevators are struggling with rail car delays of about a month. Slow rail service is also forcing processors including the State Mill and Elevator and American Crystal Sugar Co. to reduce production, he said.
"We pressed upon them just how important it is that our elevators, mills and other shippers see meaningful service improvements soon and that we also expect better, more reliable service in the long-term," Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple voiced concerns about slow rail service during a conference call with John Miller, vice president of BNSF grain marketing, Michael Shircliff, regional vice president of northern operations, and other BNSF officials.
The BNSF officials told Dalrymple that harsh winter conditions have created operational challenges that are impeding rail service at a time of strong demand from all of the railway's national service sectors. The railway officials told Dalrymple they are working to improve rail service to North Dakota and agreed to provide regular updates on specific service issues in North Dakota.