Canadian Manufacturing

Coalition of Rail Shippers presents feds with principles to revise Transport Act

Proposal includes services and obligations, communication protocols and performance standards



Montreal—The Coalition of Rail Shippers (CRS) is encouraging the federal government to revise the Canada Transportation Act to improve rail freight service in Canada.

The CRS has sent Transport minister Denis Lebel a set of principles it would like to see implemented if the government goes ahead with new legislation pertaining to rail freight.

The move follows last week’s release of independent rail freight service facilitator Jim Dinning’s report addressing ongoing issues with rail freight service.

The CRS claims his facilitation process “failed to bridge the gap between rail customers and the railways.”

At the time of the report’s release the federal government pledged to bring in legislation this fall to give shippers the right to service agreements with the railways and a process to establish such agreements should commercial negotiations fail.

“The government has asked stakeholders to engage in the process and rail shippers are keen to do so,” CRS chairman Bob Ballantyne said in a statement. “We are proposing measures that will address the imbalance in market power enjoyed by the railways.”

The CRS principles include services and obligations, communication protocols, performance standards and consequences for non-performance.

“Shippers look forward to working with government officials over the summer on this legislation to redress that imbalance,” Ballantyne said. “Our goal is to have legislation that will level the playing field between customers and railways for the benefit of job creation and economic growth for all of Canada.”

The CRS represents 18 industry associations that support about two million jobs.

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