A person wearing gloves with a handful of coal

BNSF and Navajo Transitional Energy Co. (NTEC) have put their heads together and reached a settlement regarding coal shipments. It’s like a harmony on the tracks!

In a joint filing to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on Thursday, BNSF and NTEC requested a pause on any further action until January 8, 2024. Why? That’s when they expect this settlement to be all wrapped up.

Now, the specifics of the settlement terms are still under wraps. However, the good news is that they’re shaking hands on a resolution. It’s like a friendly agreement to keep those coal shipments rolling smoothly.

Just a little throwback – NTEC had raised concerns back in April. They were asking the STB for an emergency service order against BNSF. Why? Well, they felt BNSF wasn’t holding up its end of the deal when it came to shipping the volumes of coal NTEC wanted to export.

Picture this – NTEC’s Spring Creek mine in Montana, bursting with coal ready to make its way to Westshore Terminal in British Columbia. They needed BNSF to ensure top-notch service. This is so NTEC’s customers could seamlessly arrange for ocean transport once the coal hit Westshore.

In April, NTEC laid it out for the STB, saying that BNSF breached its duty to provide adequate common carrier service. As a result, they wanted the STB to define the scope of BNSF’s common carrier obligation and throw in some relief.

And guess what? This tango between BNSF and NTEC raised a broader question – how do you define adequate service in the realm of common carrier obligation? It’s like asking, “What makes a rail journey truly top-notch?”

According to federal regulations, the common carrier obligation binds railroads to carry freight with reasonable terms and conditions. It’s all about ensuring that the tracks stay busy and the goods keep moving!

So, as we eagerly await the details of this settlement, let’s celebrate the spirit of collaboration on the rails. Here’s to smoother tracks, successful partnerships, and a whole lot of coal making its way to new horizons!