Winnipeg, MB -- Last week the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, released Jim Dinning’s final report on the Rail Freight Service Review Facilitation process. While the process did not produce a template service level agreement or a dispute resolution process that would be acceptable to the shipping community, the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) is pleased with the Government’s continued commitment to develop and enact legislation that will correct an imbalance in the commercial relationship between the railways and their grain shipping customers.
“With over 85% of Canadian grown canola being exported, effective and efficient rail service is critical to executing our sales contracts and keeping Canadian farmers financially viable,” says Rick White, General Manager of the CCGA. “The average farmer ships their canola 1,200 kilometres to port, making our land locked crop, and the farmers who grow it, heavily reliant on just two primary railways.” In addition, most farmers have access to only one railway, exemplifying the impact that rail service challenges have on their business.
Mr. Dinning led a five-month long consultative process with the railways and several members of the shipping community to find common ground in the creation of a template service level agreement and a dispute resolution process.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Government of Canada and Mr. Dinning in bringing the stakeholders to the table,” says White. “However, with shippers and the railways still far from reaching consensus on these extremely important issues, it is essential that the Government carry through with the Rail Freight Service Review commitment that they made to farmers in the spring of 2011, to bring legislation forward to address these matters.”
The Canadian Canola Growers Association represents more than 43,000 canola farmers on national and international issues that impact farm profitability and is a member of the Coalition of Rail Shippers.
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Kelly Green, Director of Communications