North Dakota Wheat Commission Policy and Marketing Director Jim Peterson says the rail situation is as difficult as it has been in many years. Freight is typically backed up four-to-six weeks. “If you’re a shipper and you’ve made a sale for the first half of March delivery and you’re just now getting the cars, you have to pay a penalty or roll to a different period, which may be at a lower price.” The railroads claim this is a labor issue. There may be some truth to that, but Peterson thinks the railroads are also cutting back on staff and trying to get the industry to fit into their system. One short-term solution could be finding a balance between penalties for non-performance. “On a global scale with the Ukraine-Russia situation, there’s a big void in potential wheat exports to fill. Right now, the U.S. isn’t in a position to compete for that business just with the significant rail service issues.” Peterson chairs the U.S. Wheat Associate’s Transportation Working Group. The working group submitted written comments ahead of the two-day hearing, which begins tomorrow. Hear the story.