Port calls for commercial approach in national rail freight service

VANCOUVER, May 3 /CNW/ - In an effort to highlight the critical importance of rail service to the success of Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway, Port Metro Vancouver is calling on Ottawa to implement a commercial approach to defining, measuring, monitoring and ensuring a high level of rail service. The Port proposed its recommendations on Friday in a detailed submission to the Transport Canada Rail Freight Service Review Panel.

"Optimal rail performance is a critical factor in achieving the Port's goal to develop the most reliable and consistent supply chain in North America," said Robin Silvester, President and CEO, Port Metro Vancouver. "We are confident that the Rail Freight Service Review will lead to meaningful and actionable recommendations for government's consideration in its effort to maximize Canadian trade."

Port Metro Vancouver's Rail Freight Service Review submission is based on consultations and evidence gathered from more than 50 organizations including rail customers, stakeholders, railways and industry associations.

The report demonstrates that the rail freight system currently serving the Port works reasonably well at a broad level, but lacks the consistency and reliability necessary to meet customer and stakeholder needs and capitalize on Canada's trade growth potential.

To address these and other issues, Port Metro Vancouver recommends a commercial approach to rail service matters that includes developing and implementing service agreements, providing a commercial dispute resolution mechanism to address problems, expanding the use of rail assets and networks through commercially negotiated co-production agreements, and implementing independent monitoring to evaluate and report on performance. In the event that a commercial approach fails to deliver the required improvements in supply chain performance then the Port notes that a more wide ranging review of the regulatory environment would be needed.

The Port also recommends amending the Canada Transportation Act to confirm that port authorities and terminals can bring a complaint before the Agency, and expanding existing Level of Services provisions to support adequate, consistent, reliable and cost-effective rail services.

"Every participant in the supply chain must commit to reciprocal accountability for delivery of required, defined, service standards," said Silvester. "We believe we can achieve optimized results while respecting the need for supply chain participants to earn a fair commercial return that motivates ongoing investment."

Access the complete report at www.portmetrovancouver.com.

Port Metro Vancouver is Canada's largest and North America's most diversified port, trading $75 billion in goods with more than 160 trading economies annually. Port activities generate 129,500 total jobs across Canada, $10.5 billion in GDP and $22 billion in economic output.

SOURCE Port Metro Vancouver

For further information: For further information: on Port Metro Vancouver, go to www.portmetrovancouver.com or contact Communications and Government Affairs, Tel: (604) 665-9066, Email: Public_Affairs@portmetrovancouver.com

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