Railroads don’t negotiate rates, they make rates.
That’s a common feeling expressed by petroleum rail shippers. They feel rail “rate negotiations” is a feel-nice phrase to describe the process by which railroads tell shippers how much rates are going up in the coming year – take it or leave it.
After a year like 2017, in which multiple railroads experienced network problems, it’s frustrating to face a Class 1 sales rep telling customers that rates are rising, again.
Many shippers start at a disadvantage when dealing with the railroads because they are considered “captive” shippers. That is, they do not have a competitive option – either service from a competing ra...