Resource economy needs right-sized transportation system

OTTAWA, March 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is calling for enhanced shipping capacity and a "right-sized" transportation infrastructure to ensure all sectors can get their goods to market to support jobs and growth.

In response to today's announcement by the federal government about short term measures to help farmers transport their grain, FPAC is calling for a broader long-term fix to ensure Canada's reputation as a reliable supplier of goods.

"The forest products industry is one of the sectors now facing downtime and lost revenue because of the lack of an adequate transportation system in this country," says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. "Canada's prosperity depends on exports yet we often can't ship our products to market in a timely fashion."

He notes that the grain industry in Canada exports $21 billion of product each year while the forest products industry exports $28.5 billion.

"We have made tremendous strides into new markets such as Asia, and this has supported jobs and growth, especially in rural Canada," says Lindsay. "However our export agenda is being constrained by insufficient transportation capacity.

The forest sector is counting on expanding export markets to help it reach Vision2020 and its ambitious goal of generating an additional $20 billion in economic activity by the end of the decade.

FPAC remains open to working with transportation carriers and others especially in the resource sector to find solutions to the lack of adequate shipping capacity.

"Together we can find ways to right-size the transportation system so that Canada is considered an efficient and reliable global supplier," says Lindsay. "That means investment in capacity, enhanced remedies for poor service and a focus on greater competitiveness."

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.

SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

For further information: Susan Murray, Executive Director, Public Relations, Forest Products Association of Canada, smurray@fpac.ca, 613-563-1441 x313; Follow us on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC; Read our President's Blog at: http://www.fpac.ca/index.php/en/blog