STB rules in favor of recyclers in rail dispute

The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) says the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) has adopted a Final Rule Establishing Minimum Information Requirements for Class I Demurrage Invoices that has long been sought by the recycling industry.

“This Supplemental Rule from the STB includes information necessary for accurate and effective communication between shippers and our rail carrier partners,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “Rail invoices will now include accurate and accessible information, so both rail carriers and rail shippers are on the same page. The STB’s rule recognizes that the communication of correct information can help prevent many misunderstandings between rail shippers and carriers.”

The website describes demurrage in the rail sector as a term and fee applied when a railcar “sits in the railroad yard after the railroad tried to deliver the railcar to the customer” or when “a rail-controlled railcar is held after the railroad delivers it to the customer at a spot on the customer’s [site] (actual placement) to when the customer notifies the railroad that the railcar is available to be picked up (released).”

ISRI says it met and filed formal comments with the STB describing what type of information was needed from the railroads with any demurrage invoices for the last two years. ISRI advocated for specific data that would allow recyclers to anticipate the arrival of the requested railcars and to challenge any demurrage charges imposed by a railroad.

ISRI says it argued for machine-readable access of invoices that included unique identifying information, such as the railcar number, the date the waybill was created, the status of the car and the dates and times of the actual placement of each railcar.

The full text of the STB rule can be found online at