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SPI Testifies Before STB on Rail Issues.

SPI earlier this year testified before the United States Surface Transportation Board (STB), providing its view of the impact of major rail consolidations on the plastics industry. Representing SPI was Phil Rine, director of corporate logistics for Aristech Chemical Corp.

In his comments, Rine emphasized the "most powerful message that can be sent to the Board on behalf of the plastics industry--the tremendous disruption caused by the recent mergers upon the processor community"

That disruption, added to the implications of the pending Burlington Northern Santa Fe/Canadian National-Illinois Central railroad merger, he said, made it appropriate for the STB to examine "the critical issues" surrounding major rail consolidations.

The plastics industry is the largest rail-dependent industry in the country Pine told the STB. "With the customer base for raw material produ-cers located more than 1000 miles from the point of production, the railroads are the lifeline for the plastics industry, connecting the producers to their customer base."

Pine characterized the plastics industry as "a universe of thousands of small businesses," 90% of which have fewer than 100 employees, the vast majority having fewer than 50. "These are companies operating on a very narrow profit margin," he said, "and depending upon lust-in-time' delivery. Few can afford the luxury of keeping large inventories on site, owing to capacity constraints and the very nature of the industry," he explained.

"Therefore, when rail service is disrupted and becomes unreliable and unpredictable, it does not simply present just a terrible inconvenience to operations," Rine added. It shuts down entire facilities, he said, so that products are no longer manufactured, customer demands are no longer met, and the corporate bottom line is adversely affected.
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Title Annotation:Government Activity
Comment:SPI Testifies Before STB on Rail Issues.(Government Activity)
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2000
Words:278
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