PaperAge Magazine

Canada's Forest Sector Welcomes New Federal Rail Legislation

CN lumber train The new transportation legislation tabled by Minister Marc Garneau would promote transparency, system efficiency, and strong private sector investment.

May 17, 2017 - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes the new transportation legislation tabled by Transport Minister Marc Garneau [yesterday]. FPAC's CEO, Derek Nighbor, says the government understands that a more competitive and efficient transportation system is critical for Canada's forestry dependent communities.

The legislation tabled by Minister Garneau [yesterday] would promote transparency, system efficiency, and strong private sector investment.

Key measures would include:

  • New data reporting requirements for railways on rates, service and performance, to enhance system transparency;
  • A new mechanism, Long-Haul Interswitching, to provide captive shippers across all sectors and regions of Canada with access to a competing railway, to ensure they have options;
  • A definition of "adequate and suitable" rail service that confirms railways should provide shippers with the highest level of service that can reasonably be provided in the circumstances;
  • The ability for shippers to seek reciprocal financial penalties in their service agreements with railways, to enhance accountability; and
  • More accessible and timely remedies for shippers on both rates and service, to support fair negotiations.

"Transportation costs represent about one third of total costs for the average forest products company. When we presented our industry's recommendations in the fall, we emphasized the need for more reliable service and competitive rates in rail, marine and trucking," says Nighbor. "Most of our mills are in rural and northern communities and have few options on how to get products to market."

"Our sector's relationships with our supply chain partners in rail, marine and trucking are very important to us. FPAC looks forward to working together to fully maximize the opportunities within this legislation," Nighbor added.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. To learn more, please visit: www.fpac.ca

SOURCE: Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)