NGFA urges STB to preserve competition in CN-IANR merger Sarah Gonzalez March 28, 2024

NGFA urges STB to preserve competition in CN-IANR merger

In comments submitted on March 29 to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), NGFA said it does not oppose the Canadian National Railway Company’s (CN) proposed acquisition of Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR) but urged STB to condition any approval of CN’s application on actions to preserve competition and customer service.

NGFA outlined several conditions that should be met by the proposal and any oversight agreement, including:

  1. Any approval of CN’s acquisition of IANR should be conditioned on the same terms for keeping gateways open on “commercially reasonable terms” that the Board imposed on its approval of the Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern Railway merger.
  2. STB should impose a five-year monitoring and oversight condition on any approval of CN’s IANR acquisition.
  3. CN’s development and implementation of a scheduled local service plan should be made an express condition of the Board’s approval. “The preservation of the local service provided by IANR is critical to the success of this transaction,” NGFA noted.
  4. STB should also require CN to preserve the status quo concerning customer service on the IANR system. During the oversight period, STB should “closely monitor how CN integrates the IANR’s customer service into CN’s system” and be prepared to step in if CN’s actions result in reduced service.

CN closed an agreement to acquire IANR on Dec. 6, 2023, and filed an application with the STB on Jan. 30, 2024.