The debate between shippers and railroads on the merits of PSR, characterized by cutting lanes, yards and locomotives in order to deliver more consistently on time and increase operational speed, has raged since CSX first began overhauling its operation in 2017. But now that six of the seven Class I railroads are adopting the principles demonstrated by the late Hunter Harrison at CSX and Canadian National before that, more shippers are affected.
Randy Gordon, president of the the National Grain and Feed Association told the members: "For our sector, PSR has resulted in increasing arbitrary, abrupt and disruptive changes to operations plans and service schedules, often negating tens of millions of dollars in customers’ investments in their facilities, track space and other infrastructure that the railroads insisted that they make in order to continue to have rail service."
A particular focus of the discussion was demurrage and accessorial fees. Railroads levee demurrage fees when rail cars exceed prescribed loading and unloading time. Accessorial fees include charges for any event or service other than the movement of freight from origin to destination — examples include weighing cars, diverting a shipment in transit or additional switching services.