Keystone Agricultural Producers is generally positive about the federal government’s proposed rail legislation announced yesterday, because many of the requests made in KAP’s submission during the consultation process have been met.
“There are a number of things we are pleased about – and that includes reciprocal penalties for both grain shippers and railways,” said KAP president Dan Mazier. “This means that the railways are going to be charged for service failures, whereas in the past only shippers were penalized for contract failures.”
He says other good news is that the government will keep the maximum revenue entitlement, or MRE, a formula that ensures the railways receive a fair rate of return for hauling grain, and at the same time controls any unjustified increases on that rate. However, the formula will be amended, and there are questions about this change that will need to be answered.
“Another positive is that this legislation will give the Canada Transportation Agency greater powers to collect grain-movement data and proactively intervene,” Mazier said.
“The bill also refers to access to long-haul interswitching options, which would replace the temporary 160-km interswitching regulation set to expire August 1 – although I would like to see clarification around this.”
Additionally, the government has renewed the Crop Logistics Working Group, a stakeholder forum for the grain industry, and has also extended the Grain Monitoring Program, which provides independent data on railway performance in grain hauling. Both of these moves are seen as positive, says Mazier.
“All of these changes indicate that Transport Minister Marc Garneau listened to the industry when we met with him last fall in Saskatoon, and I would like to thank him on behalf of Manitoba farmers,” he said.