On June 30, 2017, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced that it is updating its regulations regarding how Class I railroads publish common carrier pricing and service terms for shipping agricultural products and fertilizer.
The ICC Termination Act of 1995 previously imposed a requirement that railroads make their common carrier pricing and service terms for agricultural products and fertilizer publicly available; however, the regulations did not specify by what means the carriers would ensure that pricing could be easily accessed.
As such, this new rule states that “the published information must be broadly available without charge to any person, regardless of whether a person is a current or potential customer or receiver of a railroad.” According to the STB, the new rule allows railroads to implement user registration requirements that are not unduly burdensome and that provide timely and unrestricted access to the information on their websites. In this same ruling, the STB encouraged Class I railroads to provide, or continue to provide, online pricing portals. Those who encounter problems in accessing such pricing and service information are encouraged to contact the STB’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance.