Washington, D.C., August 2, 2022 -- With the introduction of the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act in the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Board, Michael Ireland, the President and CEO of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), made the following statement regarding the impact provisions will have on railroad service for the cement industry:
“When it comes to shipping, dwindling competition between modes of transportation – coupled with a broader need to reduce shipping emissions – means U.S. cement manufacturers are relying on our nation’s railroads more than ever to ensure their product gets to market as efficiently as possible. It is vital that the Surface Transportation Board (Board) has every tool at its disposal to make sure there are no supply chain disruptions in America’s critical construction sector. Therefore, PCA supports key provisions in the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act that would empower the Board to ensure U.S. railroads are operating optimally for all industries and encourages bipartisan action on this critical issue.”
As rail offers a less carbon intensive transportation option, it forms an important component in PCA’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality, which provides a pathway for the entire cement-concrete-construction value chain to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
In particular, PCA supports Section 201 of the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act, which directs the Board to periodically review commodities’ exemption from Board. Hydraulic cement has been exempted from Board oversight since the mid-1990s. Since this time much has changed in the shipment of cement and PCA believes it is time for the Board to re-evaluate the exemption of Board oversight of cement. PCA also supports Section 203, which would require railroads to include service delivery standards on contracts, with appropriate remedies if those standards are not met.
The Portland Cement Association (PCA), founded in 1916, is the premier policy, research, education, and market intelligence organization serving America’s cement manufacturers. PCA members represent the majority of U.S. cement production capacity, having facilities across the country. The association promotes safety, sustainability, and innovation in all aspects of construction, fosters continuous improvement in cement manufacturing and distribution, promoting economic growth and sound infrastructure investment.