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10/25/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB OKs IC's line to captive Louisiana chemical shipper


Surface Transportation Board Oct. 25 approved Illinois Central Railroad Co.'s request to build and operate a 3.2-mile line connecting to ExxonMobil Chemical Co.'s polyolefins plant in Baton Rouge, La. — pending environmental review — over the objections of Kansas City Southern, currently the plant's only rail provider.
The board determined that KCS' arguments didn't address issues requiring STB to deny IC's construction exemption or conduct a full-scale licensing proceeding.
Also, STB believes current law doesn't require the board to determine if ExxonMobil is a captive shipper or if it needs additional rail service — rather, longstanding national rail-transportation policy rulings favor building new rail lines.
Therefore, STB found that IC's proposed line would enhance ExxonMobil's transportation, and routing and rate options.
The board also denied KCS' motion to dismiss IC's petition for an STB order, which would enable IC' s line to cross KCS' tracks. KCS officials claimed IC's petition was premature, but STB opted to approve IC's construction-exemption request, adding that it didn't appear that IC and KCS were negotiating to resolve the matter.
IC owner Canadian National Railway Co. in September 2000 announced plans to build the $4 million, 16,700-foot line, at the time expecting service to and from ExxonMobil's plant to start in 2002 and daily average 30 cars.


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