NGFA is the leading agribusiness group influencing national rail and barge policy. It advocates marketplace freedoms for all modes of transportation with proper safeguards to protect grain shippers/receivers, agricultural producers and the public when adequate competition does not exist.
The NGFA also offers unique rail arbitration and mediation services to resolve certain types of disputes between grain, feed and processing companies and railroads that are NGFA members.
The NGFA also advocates improvements to the U.S. inland waterways system and ports to preserve and enhance its role in cost-competive transport of grain, grain products and farm supplies.
Having access to efficient, competitive rail transportation is crucial to the grain feed and processing industry, as well as its farmer-customers. While the modal share of grains, oilseeds and grain products hauled by rail has declined from 50 percent in 1980 to about 28 percent today, billions of bushels of grains and oilseeds still are shipped by rail each year. But significant U.S. crops are extremely reliant upon rail service — 72 percent of U.S. wheat moves to domestic and export markets by rail, as does 56 percent of U.S. barley.
Yet, agricultural producers and shippers now are dependent upon only four U.S. Class 1 carriers to haul the vast majority of grains and oilseeds shipped by rail. Those four railroads typically originate more than 80 percent of such traffic, compared to only 53 percent in 1980.
For decades the U.S. transportation infrastructure system has provided U.S. agricultural producers and agribusinesses with a strong comparative advantage, fostering the ability to efficiently and competitively serve
domestic and global markets. However, that infrastructure – particularly the inland waterways system – now risks becoming a potential detriment rather than a comparative advantage.
More information: Waterways infrastructure
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