THE BOXCAR CLIFF
Ask the Surface Transportation Board to Reform the Car Hire Default Rate Now
About The Boxcar Cliff

Transportation of goods by rail is at a pivotal turning point; a phenomenon known as the “boxcar cliff” has emerged as a significant threat to the balance and efficiency of cargo movement. Understanding this issue is vital, not only because of economic impacts but also due to its environmental and safety implications. For each boxcar unavailable to carry goods the repercussions are immediate – the equivalent of three heavy truckloads is added to our already congested roadways, exacerbating traffic, worsening road conditions, and significantly increasing carbon emissions.

The “boxcar cliff” describes a situation where the unavailability of boxcars requires shippers to increase the use of trucks as a mode of transport. While a shift to trucks is a viable short-term alternative, the long-term effects are cumulatively detrimental to our highways and the environment. It’s a multi-layered issue that impacts not only businesses’ bottom lines but also public health, road safety, and environmental stewardship. To counteract this, we must explore a strategic overhaul of boxcar car hire rates, integrating flexibility and considering the broader consequences on traffic and pollution.

The BoxCar Cliff
News
  • Logistics Management: RSI files petition with STB over looming ‘boxcar cliff’
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    Logistics Management reported that RSI is calling on STB to review and assess the existing Arbitration Rule that governs car hire rate negotiations in the railroad industry.
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  • Argus Media: Railway equipment group warns of boxcar shortage
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    Argus Media reported on the looming shortage of boxcars, quoting RSKI President Patty Long, warning of the effects of an outdated regulation.
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  • Progressive Railroading: RSI Seeks STB Review of Boxcar Compensation Rule
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    Progressive Railroading magazine reported on the boxcar cliff, noting that the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeking review of the current rules for setting compensation to boxcar owners.
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  • Railway Age: RSI Petitions STB to Avert ‘Boxcar Cliff”
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    Railway Age magazine reported that the Railway Supply Institute seeks regulatory changes that would incentivize construction of new boxcars as 22% of the fleet faces retirement by 2030
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  • Trains: STB Asked to Head Off Potential Shortage of Boxcars
    - 0 min read
    Trains magazine reported that the Railway Supply Institute seeks regulatory changes that would incentivize construction of new boxcars as 22% of the fleet faces retirement by 2030
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  • FAQ: The Boxcar Cliff and the Need for STB to Reform Railcar Hire Rates
    - 3 min read
    Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Boxcar Cliff from the Railway Supply Institute.
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  • Boxcar Cliff Overview: The Imperative of Reforming Boxcar Hire Rates
    - 3 min read
    A looming "boxcar cliff" will leave the nation without adequate supply of railcars and will push freight onto big trucks.
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  • RSI Petition to STB on Car Hire Rates
    Petition: RSI Car Hire Petition to STB 2024
    - 2 min read
    The RSI submitted a petition urging the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to review car hire rate methodology and avert a boxcar cliff in 2024.
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  • Press Release: Railway Supply Institute Petitions for Urgent Reforms to Prevent Economic Derailment
    - 3 min read
    Citing a looming supply chain crisis amid a dwindling number of active boxcars in the U.S., the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) has filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeking review of the current rules for setting compensation to b...
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  • Report: 2020 Economic Impact Study on Car Hire Rates
    - 2 min read
    A 2020 economic impact study by The Brattle Group examines the need for reform of car hire rates by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).
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  • Wall Street Journal: Why Railroads Can’t Keep Enough Boxcars in Service
    - 2 min read
    In 2015, the Wall Street Journal brought attention to a critical issue impacting the US economy with Bob Tita's article: "Why Railroads Can’t Keep Enough Boxcars in Service."
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