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Published May 02, 2014, 04:01 PM

BNSF says shuttles quickening, ag volume increases

John Miller, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway agricultural group vice president on May 2 said the company’s volumes had increased overall, ag volume has increased 9 percent from April and is now at the best level since October 2013.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

John Miller, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway agricultural group vice president on May 2 said the company’s volumes had increased overall, ag volume has increased 9 percent from April and is now at the best level since October 2013. The podcast was his 12th in a series of weekly reports.

BNSF fertilizer volume had been “in excess of 2,500 units per week, easily the best weeks since May 2013,” Miller said. “Our customers have told us that supplies, particularly of urea, at fertilizer barns in the upper Midwest have rapidly grown and are available to farmers.”

The 110-car shuttles, which move much of the grain, increased to 2.5 turnarounds per month to the Pacific Northwest, which is .5 turns better than the railroad has been doing the past month. Overall, the system is up to 2.6 shuttle turns per month to all destinations.

Conversely, late agricultural cars in shorter trains worsened slightly to 14,451 system-wide, with the 26.4 days late per car, about the same as the past month. Here are state-by-state reports:

•North Dakota late cars increased to 7,257 — just 4 percent less than March 28. They averaged 25.5 days late, just shy of the 26.1-day peak on April 11.

•South Dakota had 516 late cars, about half of the levels through mid-April. Days late average was 27.5, nearly 12 percent down from the March 28 peak.

•Montana had 3,038 late cars, about 13 percent better than the April 3 peak. They were late 32.5 days, or 4 percent better than the peak on April 11.

•Minnesota had 1,848 late cars — a record high for the state and 15 percent worse than the previous peak on March 28. Cars averaged 19.8 days late, which is the lowest since Feb. 27.

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