Union Pacific asks regulators to delay, extend review of CP-KCS merger

Chemical shippers also seek longer comment period

By Bill Stephens for trains.com

WASHINGTON – Union Pacific has asked federal regulators to delay and extend their review of the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

UP wants the Surface Transportation Board to treat the CP-KCS merger application as if it were filed on Dec. 15, some 47 days after it was actually filed. UP contends the clock should start ticking on Dec. 15 because that’s three months after the railways amended their “intent to merge” filing with the STB.

The three-month waiting period is critical, UP says, because it allows interested parties to evaluate a proposed rail merger and decide whether they will support it, oppose it, or seek conditions.

CP and KCS initially announced their merger deal in March. But Canadian National topped CP’s bid and became KCS’s preferred partner in May, which launched the four-month merger battle that CP ultimately won. “Once CN entered the picture, there was no reason for potentially interested parties to expend significant resources evaluating either a CP/KCS or CN/KCS transaction until the corporate contest was resolved,” UP said in a Nov. 12 filing.

UP also asked the board to extend the comment period to 120 days rather than the 90-day schedule the STB has proposed.

Industry groups representing chemical and fertilizer shippers, meanwhile, on Nov. 12 asked the board to extend the 90-day comment period by two weeks. The American Chemistry Council and The Fertilizer Institute say the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah holidays fall in the middle of the board’s proposed schedule, effectively reducing the time available for research, negotiations with the railroads, and preparing comments.

CP and KCS, in a Nov. 12 filing, told the board they supported adding 40 days to the comment period. But the railways urged the board to adopt the same deadlines for receiving comments and responsive applications. Those deadlines are currently staggered, which CP and KCS say “may encourage gamesmanship.”Comments+

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