OTTAWA, Sept. 27, 2012 (CNW) -A group of CEOs and other senior executives from major resource sectors such as forestry, fertilizers, mining and agriculture converged in Ottawa earlier this week to deliver a strong common message - that now is the time to address inefficient and inadequate rail freight service.
The business leaders, all members of the Coalition of Rail Shippers (CRS), brought their message directly to Ministers, groups of MPs and key officials from Transport, Industry, Natural Resources, Agriculture, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Prime Minister's Office.
"For Resolute Forest Products, the inefficiencies of rail service have an impact on our bottom line and our ability to compete in fiercely competitive world markets", says Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. "For example, it's unacceptable for our company to receive hundreds of unusable rail cars delivered to us each year, delaying delivery or resulting in direct damage of product. In today's marketplace, you must be a reliable supplier. What we are asking of government is entirely reasonable."
The CRS wants the government to implement effective legislation that would allow more balanced commercial relationships between railways and shippers. This would include the right to a service agreement between a rail company and a customer, backed up by a dispute settlement mechanism.
"The Canadian fertilizer industry urges the government to immediately pass legislation that will ensure the railways negotiate commercial agreements with all of our member companies to ensure that our products move to market efficiently and on time as this helps increase our trade and ensure Canadian economic growth and it helps farmers - our customers - provide a quality food supply for all Canadians," says CFI member company executive and board chairman Norm Beug.
The CRS is looking forward to the legislative changes to the Canada Transportation Act that the government has promised to table this fall -a move that would help safeguard the well-being of more than two million men and women employed by members of the Coalition of Rail Shippers, enhance the competiveness of Canadian companies in global markets and support jobs and economic growth for all of Canada.
The Coalition of Rail Shippers represents 18 industry associations that support about two million jobs. Members provide 80% of the revenue of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways.