Western Grain Elevator Association

Western Grain Elevator Association

June 17, 2016 12:06 ET

WGEA Applauds Government for Passing Rail Provisions

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - June 17, 2016) - The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) applauds the Government of Canada's efforts this summer to extend provisions of the 2014 Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act while it considers permanent changes. The provision to maintain the extended 160km interswitching limit is especially critical for the grain sector.

"We would like to thank Minister Garneau and Minister MacAulay for making this initiative a priority and working with the House and Senate to pass this one-year extension quickly." said Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the WGEA. "The 160km interswitch provision means that again in this growing season, grain handlers and the product of their farmer customers will have access to more than one railway which creates competition by giving shippers some choice."

This extended interswitching is one important tool among several that are required to ensure rail performance is consistently meeting the demands and needs of the grain sector. The WGEA continues to advocate for permanent measures to improve rail capacity available to shippers as well as balanced accountability for service, notably by having the statutory right to introduce financial penalties and commercial arbitration into Service Level Agreements to mimic what naturally occurs in a competitive transportation market. Today, grain shippers rightly have to pay penalties to the railways if they do not load or unload railcars in a certain period of time, but there are no consequences for railways if they do not supply railcars on time to grain shippers. The shipper-railway relationship is the only one in the grain supply chain that does not have clear and balanced financial accountability set out in a commercial contract.

WGEA members are grateful that the government has been engaged with all stakeholders in its ongoing assessment of the Canada Transportation Act Review. Grain shippers remain committed to providing open, transparent and accurate information about rail logistics and the grain sector as the government develops its legislative response.

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 over one billion dollars. For more information on the WGEA's perspective on the rail environment visit: www.wgea.ca

Contact Information

  • Wade Sobkowich
    Executive Director
    (204) 942-6835