Western Grain Elevator Association

Western Grain Elevator Association

December 22, 2016 13:58 ET

Grain Elevators Applaud the Parliamentary Committee on Transport's Rail Recommendations

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Dec. 22, 2016) - The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) was pleased to see the results of the report from the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on rail transportation affecting grain shippers. Recommendations in the report broadly encompass the adjustments required to the Canada Transportation Act to ensure the Canadian economy prospers in the long run.

"Canada's new rail transportation policy that the government plans to table in the Spring of 2017 will largely shape how the grain sector and other rail-reliant industries do business well into the future and it is critical that we get the details right," said Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the WGEA. "The Committee has done important work in consulting with the various sectors to recommend the right legislative levers to create a more competitive rail system." Sobkowich noted that, "For grain handlers and the 100,000 growers who rely on rail service to get their product to customers, there is no more important issue today."

The Committee has recommended important provisions on financial penalties which are especially critical to drive balanced accountability in grain by rail logistics and has been a long standing request on behalf of the entire grain value chain. The WGEA is also very pleased to see the Committee support extending interswitching limits to create real competition for those facilities falling within 160km of interchanges. Extended interswitching has become a very valuable provision for grain shippers and it is important it becomes, in the long term, a predictable and reliable tool by making it permanent.

The WGEA also noted the Committee's recommendation to clarify the definition of "adequate and suitable" accommodation which sets out the spirit and intent of how railways should meet the requirements of shippers. "The service obligations and capacity of the railways is critical to help Canada meet the economic opportunities we have with customers at home and abroad," concluded Sobkowich, "the definition of 'adequate and suitable' is really there to ensure the system focuses on the market demands of those customers and not be based on what the railways might be willing to supply."

The WGEA will continue to be supportive of the government's work in making the rail system responsive to our future market opportunities and the globally competitive environment that we operate within.

The WGEA is an association of grain businesses operating in Canada which collectively handle in excess of 90% of western Canada's bulk grain exports. Its members account for roughly one fifth of bulk railway revenue in Canada and pay annual total freight of one and a half billion dollars. For more information on the WGEA's perspective on the rail environment visit: www.wgea.ca

Contact Information

  • Western Grain Elevator Association
    (204) 942-6835
    (204) 943-4328 (FAX)
    wgea@mts.net