STB issues final reciprocal switching rule Sarah Gonzalez April 30, 2024

STB issues final reciprocal switching rule

ARLINGTON, Va., April 30, 2024 — The Surface Transportation Board (STB) published its final rules on reciprocal switching for inadequate service. The rules published today provide shippers and receivers captive to a single Class I railroad the opportunity to use Board-directed arrangements to switch to an alternative carrier if the incumbent carrier’s service falls below performance thresholds established by STB for reliability in time of arrival, consistency in transit time, and reliability in providing first-mile and last-mile service.

National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) President and CEO Mike Seyfert issued the following statement:

“NGFA is committed to continuing to work with the STB and railroads as much as possible to improve the performance and efficiency of the rail network. Throughout the rulemaking process, NGFA agreed with the Board that Class I railroads must have greater incentives to improve rail service to their customers and to make continued investments in crews and equipment. Data-sharing measures supported by NGFA included in the final reciprocal switching rule will serve to both inform and incentivize railroad performance.

“Principally, NGFA members urge STB to take other actions to achieve the service improvements the Board seeks to encourage, including finalizing the petition for rules that govern rail carriers’ use of private railcars. This petition would establish financial incentives for efficiently using railcars owned or leased by shippers. Finalizing private railcar use regulations would build on the progress made by the Board’s publication in January of final emergency service rules enabling the Board to order temporary relief in emergencies more quickly and effectively.

“We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the STB and fostering strong, cooperative partnerships with the rail carriers.”

NGFA submitted opening comments to STB on the reciprocal switching proposed rule on Nov. 7, 2023, and submitted reply comments on Dec. 6, 2023.


The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate facilities handling U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA consists of 27 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.