Ankeny, Iowa – For the first time, CSX Transportation was selected as the top performing railroad by leading U.S. agricultural shippers in the fourth annual Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) Railroad Report Card. Union Pacific Railroad, the top ranked railroad in 2011 and 2012, finished in second place. Norfolk Southern Railway climbed to third place from its fourth place ranking in 2012. Survey respondents ranked Canadian Pacific in last place for the third year in a row.
The survey was completed anonymously by agricultural shippers of various sizes and scale of operations and has been comprised of the same eleven questions since the report card’s inception. The questions are categorized under: 1.) On Time Performance; 2.) Customer Service; and 3.) Costs. For most questions, participants were asked to rate each of the seven Class I railroads on a scale from 1-10 with ten being the highest and one being the lowest. The 2013 survey had the largest number of participants in the history of the report card.
After combining the results from the eleven survey questions, CSX received the highest overall rating. The company ranked first in six out of the eleven questions. Overall, railroads received, on average, a 2.5 percent higher score than in 2012. Canadian Pacific, rated as the lowest performing railroad, received a last place ranking in four out of the eleven questions.
Soy Transportation Coalition Rail Customer Satisfaction Index – Overall Ratings:
1.) CSX Transportation
2.) Union Pacific Railroad
3.) Norfolk Southern Railway
4.) Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
5.) Canadian National Railway
6.) Kansas City Southern Railway
7.) Canadian Pacific Railway 2
"We are encouraged that agricultural shippers are overall more satisfied with the rail service they receive," expressed Pat Knouff, a soybean farmer from Minster, Ohio, and chairman of the Soy Transportation Coalition. For U.S. farmers to be profitable, having a responsive and reliable freight rail system is essential. This reliance on rail transportation is only expected to continue. It is therefore important for farmers, agricultural shippers, and railroads to work together to ensure we can continue to satisfy the needs of a growing and hungry world."
Railroads, on average, achieved significantly higher ratings in 2013 on their ability to provide quality customer service and to resolve problems to the satisfaction of customers. Agricultural shippers rated railroads noticeably lower in providing adequate notification when price increases occur.
Class I railroads are the largest railroads in the country with an annual operating revenue exceeding $378 million. Seven railroads are classified as Class Is: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad. Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway are also considered Class Is due to their significant trackage lines in the United States.
Each year, over 900 million bushels (27.5 million tons) of U.S. soybeans are transported by rail. By the year 2020/2021, the volume moved by rail is estimated to increase to 1.4 billion bushels (42 million tons).
The full results of the survey, including a copy of the questionnaire, can be accessed at www.soytransportation.org.
Established in 2007, the Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of eleven state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board. The goal of the organization is to position the soybean industry to benefit from a transportation system that delivers cost effective, reliable, and competitive service.