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6/14/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

More Class I merger-rule reactions


Although Canadian National Railway Co. and CSX Transportation immediately issued statements June 11 after Surface Transportation Board released its new merger rules, other Class Is spent a few days formulating a reaction. (However, Norfolk Southern Corp. declined to release a statement; the railroad isn’t sure when or if it will respond to STB’s rules, says NS spokeswoman Susan Terpay.)
Burlington Northern Santa Fe June 13 issued a statement describing the rules as being more burdensome to merger approvals, and a tool that gives STB "a great deal of discretion to handle each situation on a case-by-case basis."
But BNSF officials also believe the rules "aren’t intended to stifle private sector initiatives and market transactions that’re in the public interest."
Similar to comments made in November regarding STB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Class I supports the board’s requirement that future merger applicants include detailed service assurance plans to maintain competition for shippers.
Canadian Pacific Railway, on the other hand, believes the rules are more stringent and onerous, and require too much burden of proof from applicants.
"It’s clear that STB, which is based in Washington, is now in Missouri, the ‘Show Me State,’ because they want applicants to demonstrate that a merger brings benefits, fits the public interest and enhances competition," says CPR spokesman Len Cocolicchio. "We’ve been calling for alliances for some time, and we believe the rules’ in effect support our position that alliances and partnerships are the best way to create shareholder value."
That’s a sentiment CSX Corp. Chairman John Snow echoed June 6 at the Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Leaders Conference in New York. And Union Pacific Railroad Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Davidson is a staunch believer in the alliance route, too.
Railroads’ role in upholding the "public interest" is holding off on mergers all together — at least for a while, Davidson told Progressive Railroading Editor Pat Foran in a May interview at UP headquarters.
"We ought to work as hard as we can through alliances and joint ventures," he said. "If we’re not successful, then, yes, go ahead and start [the next round]."
Jeff Stagl


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/14/2001