We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.



Hoeven presses BNSF over backlog of rail cars

“Our farmers and ranchers need access to reliable rail service, and these ongoing transportation disruptions create a real problem for both producers and consumers,” Hoeven said.

USA, Columbia, Washington DC, Capitol Building
USA, Columbia, Washington DC, Capitol Building
We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAND FORKS — North Dakota's senior senator is concerned about the backlog of rail cars in North Dakota and has called on Burlington Northern Santa Fe's chief executive officer to continue working on the issue.

John Hoeven
John Hoeven

According to a release from his Washington, D.C., office, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., pressed BNSF CEO Katie Farmer on the backlog and discussed a series of steps BNSF is taking to help the region's ag producers and others get their products to market.

Among the BNSF steps are:

  • Hiring 3,000 new employees while offering $15,000 hiring bonus incentives.
  • Adding 350 locomotives to the BNSF fleet.
  • Increasing rail shuttle turns from two to two and a half per month.
  • Utilizing BNSF's ombudsman to facilitate communication with ag producers and other shippers.

According to the release, the backlog in North Dakota is down from last month's number of 3,600 cars, but is still at 2,752.
“Our farmers and ranchers need access to reliable rail service, and these ongoing transportation disruptions create a real problem for both producers and consumers,” Hoeven said in the release. “The steps that BNSF is taking to address this issue are encouraging, and I appreciate CEO Katie Farmer for being receptive to our feedback and committing to improve communication with shippers in North Dakota. We will hold them to that commitment and continue working to resolve the rail car backlog in our state.”

There have been other recent developments in shipping delays, too, according to Hoeven's office.


Hoeven and Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., recently discussed with the Surface Transportation Board prolonged rail service disruptions. The STB recently required Class I railroads to provide biweekly reports on progress to increase service.

Cramer, according to a release from his office Friday, led 20 colleagues in a letter urging the STB to ensure reliable, consistent rail service for American industries and shippers.

The senators wrote: “We are very concerned over the significant rail service disruptions occurring throughout the U.S. freight rail network. Reports from rail customers, including our manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and energy producers, indicate reliable rail service is not being provided in many situations.” 

Also, Hoeven sponsored the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, legislation recently passed by Congress to update federal regulations for the global shipping industry. Also involved in that process, according to Hoeven's office, were Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

Related Topics: JOHN HOEVEN
Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What to read next
Kevin Greybull had no permanent address, according to police. He spent time in both Mandan and Bismarck.
The Republican attorney general said he's very confident he "did not and would never advocate for anything other than strict adherence" to state and federal laws.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is calling on the public to identify needless regulations that could be struck from the state’s law books. Ideas can be submitted through the governor’s website.
Bismarck police are investigating the death of Jessica Solorzano, a 40-year-old from Bakersfield, California.