Union Pacific Railroad was the top performer in an annual report card published this week by the Soy Transportation Coalition. The Iowa-based organization of Midwest soybean boards surveys large and small agricultural shippers on a confidential basis, and compiles the scores to rank the seven major rail companies that transport grain across the country.
Union Pacific received top scores for the fourth time in the past five years, and BNSF Railway was rated as the most improved, increasing its overall score by 26 percent from the previous year.
The ratings are based on answers to 11 questions about costs, on-time performance and customer service. BNSF was ranked in sixth place out of seven in 2014 because of complaints that it gave oil shipments from North Dakota preference over grain. In 2015 the railroad moved up to second place after improving service to agricultural customers.
Three of the seven evaluated railroads – Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian Pacific – received higher overall scores for 2015 compared to the previous year. Four of the seven – CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern – were given lower overall scores.
Although Canadian Pacific improved slightly, survey respondents still ranked it in last place for the fifth year in a row.