The American Bakers Association is highly concerned about the ongoing crisis in the northern wheat states regarding the severe lag in shipping wheat and other grains by rail. “Some of our members have unfortunately had to cut back on production due to the massive shipping inefficiencies, which have led to layoffs and millions in lost revenue,” said Robb MacKie, ABA President and CEO. “Bakers are struggling to manage flour supplies and keep lines operational due to the severe lag times of wheat deliveries to mills.”
“The entire grain chain is bearing the brunt of this problem,” added Cory Martin, ABA Director of Government Relations. “With multiple grain harvests just around the corner, the railroads absolutely have to focus on addressing the major lag times in the Dakotas and surrounding region to ensure that bakers have access to needed flour supplies, especially during the winter months.
ABA is supportive of a bipartisan bill recently introduced by leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that increases the ability of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to address rail concerns. “The leadership of Senators Rockefeller and Thune on this issue is critical to solving this crisis,” added Martin. “While there is much more that needs to be done, giving the STB more authority to hold the railroads accountable is an important first step.”
ABA will continue to work with members of Congress and the STB to ensure that appropriate action is taken to bring relief to the baking industry.