CSX Transportation has put the brakes on a plan to reduce rail service to General Mills' Buffalo plant, according to two elected officials.
CSX this week had planned to cut back its service to the cereal and flour plant to once a day, instead of twice a day. For now, the railroad will maintain its twice-daily service.
"We are glad CSX has been so responsive to our call to delay their sudden decision to reduce rail service at the General Mills plant in Buffalo," said Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins, in a joint statement on Tuesday. "We hope this decision means CSX and General Mills can come to a long-term agreement that is favorable to both companies. As conversations continue, our highest priority remains ensuring any agreement does not negatively impact jobs in the region."
The two Democrats did not specify how long CSX would continue the twice daily service to the plant if no long-term agreement is reached.
Kelsey Roemhildt, a General Mills spokeswoman, confirmed CSX's twice-daily service is continuing, and General Mills "will continue to work with CSX to reach a long-term agreement."
Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, said his office had worked with both companies, as well as Higgins' office, to resolve the dispute. Collins said the agreement will give General Mills more time to reach a long-term agreement or find an alternative solution for shipping.
"I commend CSX for taking the necessary steps in working with General Mills to find a solution to this problem," Collins said. "The delay in service changes will keep the General Mills plant up and running, while CSX and General Mills can work on an equitable solution for both companies."
Schumer and Higgins had sent a letter to the acting chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, raising concerns that a cutback in rail service to the General Mills plant could disrupt production and harm the facility's competitiveness. The letter was copied to Hunter Harrison, president and CEO of the Florida-based railroad.
Under Harrison, CSX this year has been implementing cost cuts across its rail network. The Surface Transportation Board in October held a "listening session," to allow CSX to outline its operating strategy and for customers to air complaints about service disruptions.