The Soy Transportation Coalition(STC) recently updated its annual report on the railroad transportation of soybeansand soy products – highlighting the significance of our nation’s railroads to the soybean industry.

The study provides statistics – both on a national and individual state level – on the volume of soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil and biodieselmoved by the rail industry; the leading destinations for those products; and the revenue and rates associated with those movements. As with the 2009 report, the analysis monitors the volume of soybeans and soy products transported at potentially excessive rates, those states whose soybean industry is most dependent on rail service, and those railroads that transport the highest volumes of soybeans and soy products.

Among the findings generated by the study:

  • The largest Class I railroads transport 24% of the soybeans, 43% of the soybean meal, 67% of the soybean oil and 99% of the biodiesel produced in the U.S.
  • BNSF Railway transports the largest volume of soybeans – 10.7 million tons in 2009. Union Pacific Railroad is the largest originator of soybean meal (6.2 million tons) and soybean oil (2.7 million tons).
  • The largest destination area for the railroad movement of soybeans continues to be the Pacific Northwest (PNW) ports in Washington and Oregon. Forty-nine percent of soybeans loaded into a rail car are destined to the PNW – underscoring the strength of the Asian export market.
  • Forty-one percent of rail movements of soybeans (9.89 million tons) are transported at rates the U.S. Surface Transportation Boardwould classify as potentially excessive – resulting in a potential overcharge of $110 million in 2008. Sixty percent of biodiesel is transported at potentially excessive rates.
  • Revenue among the largest Class I railroads from transporting soybeans and soy products dropped 2% from the previous year – from $1.505 billion in 2008 to $1.477 billion in 2009. From 2006 to 2009, Class I railroad revenue increased from $1.120 billion to $1.477 billion.