Formally established in 1901, the NGFA’s Arbitration System has operated in some form since the formation of the Association on November 9, 1896. It is believed to be North America’s oldest industry-based arbitration system.
The Arbitration System provides a fair, cost-effective and timely way to resolve disputes involving grain, feed, barge and barge freight transactions. Its use is compulsory for resolution of disputes between Active members under the NGFA’s Bylaws. The Arbitration System is also available for resolving disputes with and between Allied and Transportation members if the Arbitration Rules are referenced in the underlying contractual agreement or the parties otherwise consent The Arbitration System is kept current through the amendment process at the NGFA’s annual business meeting.
The Rail Arbitration Rules, first adopted on Aug. 24, 1998, supplement the Arbitration Rules. The Rail Arbitration Rules are applicable to disputes between railroads and their customers using the NGFA Arbitration System.
NGFA-member railroads and their customers can use the NGFA Arbitration System to resolve any type of dispute where both agree. All NGFA Active, Allied and Transportation members are covered by, and have access to, NGFA rail arbitration unless they notify the NGFA of their desire to withdraw from the Rail Arbitration System within 30 days of membership approval. Thereafter, an Active, Allied or Transportation member may withdraw from the Rail Arbitration System after providing 90-day’s advance notice to the NGFA Secretary. See the Participants in Rail Arbitration below for a list of any NGFA-member rail carrier(s) or Active member(s) electing to withdraw from the Rail Arbitration System.
In addition, nearly all Class I railroads and some shortline and regional railroads have agreed to enter confidential mediation on certain rate-related issues upon request by a NGFA Active or Allied member.
Arbitration Cases are prepared by the parties involved. Decisions are based upon evidence submitted by the parties.
Cases are considered by an Arbitration Committee comprised of three persons selected by the NGFA Secretary. Arbitrators are employees, active partners, principals, officers, or directors of Active, Allied and Transportation members. Arbitrators generally selected based upon their personal experience in the type of trade practices or questions involved in the case. Arbitrators must have no commercial interest in the case.
Parties involved in an arbitration case may appeal the decision of the Arbitration Committee to an Arbitration Appeals Committee, consisting of a permanent chairman and four others selected from a standing Arbitration Appeals Panel appointed by the NGFA chairman.
Usually, the Arbitration Committee or the Arbitration Appeals Committee processes cases by mailing to one another the documentation involved. However, either party may request an oral hearing, in which case it must be granted.
Arbitration committees endeavor to decide cases as quickly as possible after receipt of papers and documentary evidence pertaining to the case. Each award under the Arbitration System subsequently is published as an Arbitration Decision bulletin and is mailed to all NGFA members. New decisions are also posted on the NGFA web site.
Members withdrawing from Rail Arbitration
|Columbia Grain & Ingredients Inc.||Mid-Coast Grain Company|
|FAMO Feeds Inc.||Quad Commodities Marketing Service Inc.|
|Farmers Elevator Co. of Briggs & Easton||R.J. O'Brien|
|Harmony-Preston Agri-Services Inc.||Revillo Farmers Elevator|
|Ingram Barge Company||See-Mor Grain Inc.|
|Keller Grain & Feed||Settlemyre Seed Company|
|M. D. Thompson & Son Co.||White Commercial Corporation|
|Marquette Transportation Company|