More Shippers Rap Freight Service Panel Report

Shipper frustration with the idea of waiting until 2013 at the earliest to get better treatment from CN and CP is heating up.

The Coalition of Rail Shippers has sent a memo to all MPs calling on the federal government “to act decisively now to address shortcomings in rail service.”

The Rail Freight Service Review Panel identified the problem with the market dominance of CN and CP, but failed shippers with wait-and-see proposals for resolving the situation, said Bob Ballantyne, coalition chairman and president of the Canadian Industr ial Transpor tation Association.

The coalition’s members, “who account for over 80 per cent of the revenues of the national rail freight carriers, simply cannot wait until 2013 for the government to get engaged in solving the problem identified by the panel report,” says the letter.

The panel issued a preliminary final report in early October and gave both sides until Nov. 8 to comment on its recommendations. It will use the views on the preliminary report in drafting its final one that will be presented to the government before Christmas.

The letter says the shippers are deeply disappointed with the panel’s wait-and-see recommendation.

“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 stakeholders. So it makes no sense to recognize the problem as the superior market clout of the railways and then propose giving the railways three more years to find commercial solutions.”

Shippers were promised a full review of rail freight service issues by Transport Canada in 2008. Coalition members have waited patiently for close to three years of process and deliberation for the results of this review. “That is why it is so objectionable to suggest the government sit back and wait yet three more years to see whether the railways voluntarily improve service.”

“The time to act is now,” the letter says.

———

Itmakesnosense torecognizethe problemasthe

superiormarketclout oftherailwaysand thenproposegiving therailwaysthree moreyearstofind commercialsolutions.”

– COALITION OF RAIL SHIPPERS

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