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BNSF Railway Limits Grain Cargo to California

Railroad has experienced significant service challenges due to severe congestion and poor weather


From June 29 through the end of July, BNSF will limit traffic destined to California.

The railroad said it has experienced significant service challenges due to severe congestion and poor weather, such as high wind events, flash flooding and heavy rains.

"We have experienced a sharp increase in congestion throughout Southern California during the past few weeks due to several high wind events concurrent with the high levels of traffic seeking to move through the region," noted the company in a release.

"In addition, flash flooding from monsoonal rains caused a service outage earlier this week on a portion of our Southern Transcon near Laguna, NM, approximately 70 miles west of Belen.

BNSF says both main tracks at this location were out of service for several hours. Temporary speed restrictions were implemented while crews restored and inspected affected track, which resulted in additional congestion and reduced fluidity on the Transcon.

"The resulting impacts have affected our ability to effectively align resources with freight volumes, particularly the efficient utilization of train crews in the region. While this embargo action will lead to some additional disruption to our affected customers in the short term, we are confident that this aggressive measure will provide the additional capacity needed to recover velocity and improve cycle times more quickly, as well as assist with resource availability.

This embargo applies to all commodities that are being shipped to destinations in California from the following states in the BNSF network: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

All eastern points of origin outside the BNSF network, which interchange through gateways located in the above states, are also included in this embargo.

Through July 5, limited commodities — including grain and grain products — can request a permit for shipment to California.

After July 5, those specified commodities, along with fertilizers, will no longer need a permit, but all other non-specified commodities would need to request a permit to reach California. Intermodal traffic to California is not affected by the embargo.

For affected commodities, BNSF will issue permits to embargoed destinations. Permit requests must be submitted one week prior to desired shipment date. Customers can submit permit requests, as well as obtain more information, through this online form.

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