Canada government acts on rail services, rates

07 June 2007 14:49  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Canada's freight rail services could improve and rates could come down if a federal bill introduced last week becomes law, industry officials said on Thursday.

 

The bill would help shippers, including chemical firms, to resolve disputes about rates and services with Canada’s two main rail firms.

 

Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) enjoyed almost a monopoly in large-scale rail freight, according to Bob Ballantyne, who heads the Coalition of Rail Shippers, an industry group. He also welcomed a promised review of rail services.

 

Rail service levels were a big concern for Canadian shippers, in particular those with access to only one rail carrier, Ballantyne said.

 

His broad-based coalition includes the chemicals and fertilizer industries, along with farming, forest products, energy and other sectors.

 

A spokesman for the Railway Association of Canada, a group that represents rail firms, was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

 

Industry observers said recent rail strikes at both CN and CP had highlighted the importance of rail services to Canada’s export-oriented economy.

 

The Canadian move echoes similar concerns in the US where lawmakers earlier this year decried what they said was virtually an unregulated rail monopoly and promised legislative action to improve services and reduce rates.


By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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