OTTAWA, June 25, 2012 /CNW/ - The Coalition of Rail Shippers (CRS) is
grateful that the Minister of Transport, Denis Lebel, has reconfirmed
the government's intention to bring in legislation on rail service
following the release of the Dinning report.
The Minister reiterated his commitment to introduce a bill which would
give shippers the right to service agreements with the railways and
provide a process to establish such an agreement should commercial
negotiations fail. Jim Dinning had been asked by the government to try
to facilitate discussions between rail customers and the major railways
to develop service level agreements and dispute resolution templates
that could be used in direct negotiations between individual shippers
and their rail carriers.
"The CRS appreciates the efforts of Mr. Dinning in leading the
face-to-face meetings between the railways and a diverse range of
railway customers over a five month period," said Bob Ballantyne, Chair
of the CRS. "From our perspective, the government did the right thing
in establishing the facilitation process. Unfortunately, despite the
best efforts of Mr. Dinning and his team, this process failed to
Railway customers, big and small, spend several billion dollars on rail
freight services each year. Many resource-based rail customers are
captive to the virtual monopoly power enjoyed by the railways. This
unacceptable imbalance of power has led to inadequate service which
impacts the competitiveness of Canadian businesses and their ability to
serve export markets.
The Federal Government's own Rail Freight Service Review report, tabled in March 2011, stated that: "the major cause of rail
service problems is railway market power, which leads to an imbalance
in the commercial relationships between the railways and other
"Now that the Dinning facilitation process has been completed, we are
pleased that the government is preparing to table legislation to ensure
balanced negotiations with the railways, supported by timely and
effective dispute settlement in case of a dispute between railways and
their customers," continued Ballantyne. "Rebalancing the commercial
framework will encourage real commercial negotiations between the
railways and their customers."
The Coalition of Rail Shippers is comprised of 18 industry associations,
representing broad segments of Canadian industry. The companies
represented by the CRS account for over 80% of the revenues of Canadian
National and Canadian Pacific.
SOURCE COALITION OF RAIL SHIPPERS
For further information:
Chair, Coalition of Rail Shippers