Mining industry seeking amendments to Bill C-52 to improve service
OTTAWA, Feb. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Mining Association of Canada (MAC)
today informed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities that Bill C-52, the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, does not go the distance in overcoming the rail service failures that
gave rise to the bill in the first place.
The Canadian mining industry is the single largest customer of Canadian
railways. In 2011, Canadian miners accounted for 54% of total Canadian
rail freight revenue, and just under half of total commodity freight
"While our industry appreciates the government's initiative in
attempting to partially correct the imbalance of railway market power
through its initial review and the tabling of this bill, we believe it
does not deliver on the government's promise to enhance the efficiency
and reliability of the entire rail freight supply chain," said Pierre
Gratton, MAC's President and CEO. "As currently written, we do not
believe the bill will achieve the government's stated intention."
MAC is urging the federal government to make amendments to the bill to
correct the issues that were identified in Transport Canada's Rail
Freight Service Review, and to improve the bargaining relationship
between railway companies and shippers.
Although the bill features some positive changes that MAC and the
Coalition of Rail Shippers (CRS) advocated for during the government
review and consultation process, the recommendations that are currently
absent from the bill pose the greatest challenges to the shipping
community. For example, although Bill C-52 gives shippers a statutory
right to a Service Level Agreement, it does so without defining that
service. Without specifying the elements of service that a shipper
needs, an arbitrator will have no direction in a process that, unless
amended, weighs heavily in the railway's favour.
The industry, through MAC and the CRS, has proposed six amendments to
the committee today in order for Bill C-52 to achieve the government's
intended outcomes. (See link to Backgrounder below for amendment information).
"The current imbalance and associated service failures have resulted in
unreliable service and higher costs for the mining industry, its
partners and customers. We urge the government to consider our
amendments given that insufficient rail freight service adversely
affects the entire logistics supply chain and, in turn, the Canadian
economy as a whole," said Gratton.
Overcoming Canada's vast geography to deliver products effectively to
and from ports and smelters is crucial, especially when competing
against countries with significantly shorter logistical supply chains.
In this respect, rail freight service is a key component of the mining
industry's ability to compete internationally.
BACKGROUNDER: MAC and the CRS proposed amendments to Bill C-52 available at www.mining.ca.
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the
Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada's
production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds,
metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are
actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and
semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.
SOURCE: Mining Association of Canada (MAC)
For further information:
(613) 233-9392 x225 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(613) 233-9392 x325 or email@example.com