Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was in Saskatoon today to discuss logistics legislation with stakeholders and industry representatives across the rail supply chain.
“The new Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act will put into law clear measures to support the world-class logistics system that gets Canada’s agriculture products and other bulk commodities to market in a predictable and timely way,” Ritz said to media following the meeting.
Ritz acknowledged other groups (like Saskatchewan’s potash stakeholders) are concerned legislation will de-rail CN and CP’s incentive to move their products, but argued these concerns are off track.
“We’ve reinforced the fact that the numbers we’re putting forward are those put forward by both CN and CP, that they can deliver without…harming their ability to move potash,” Ritz said.
As for a third-party group to conduct farm-to-port logistics coordination: it doesn’t sound like Ritz is “all-aboard” such a switch. His platform centres around improved service-level agreements instead.
“Well, I know the Summit that went on yesterday, they talked about re-instating the GTA. I’m not interested in that,” Ritz said. “It’s much more important for the shippers and the railways to sit down and hammer out the service-level agreements that are commercial, that have dispute mechanisms — and so on — that are enforceable.”
To be continued.
For more of Agriculture Minister Ritz’s media address, chug through the video below.