Crop Logistics Working Group Submits Recommendations to Improve Grain Transportation

The group of grain sector representatives appointed to the federal government’s Crop Logistics Working Group has submitted another batch of recommendations for improving grain transportation across Canada.

Back in February the group was tasked with identifying ways to improve the crop logistics system and establishing common positions across the supply chain for consideration in the current review of the Canada Transportation Act.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the completion of the report at the Canadian Grain Commission’s head office in Winnipeg on Monday. CGC Commissioner Murdoch MacKay chaired the working group, which brought together more than 18 organizations involved in producing and marketing Canadian grain.

“Our mandate was to establish a consensus position within the grain supply chain. It has been a privilege to work with this very committed industry group over the past six months in reaching that goal and we would like to thank the Minister for this opportunity to bring the industry together to develop and present the recommendations of the industry to the CTA review panel and the Minister,” said MacKay. (continued below)

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and RealAg’s Kelvin Heppner discuss the Crop Logistics Working Group report on grain movement and what will happen with its recommendations.

CLWG recommendations:

1. Enhance transparency in the rail market
2. Enhance CTA provisions and processes
related to commercial contracts
3. Enhanced powers of the Agency
4. Continued assessment of grain
movement volume
5. Enhanced competitive tools
6. Expand Agency involvement in the
rail line discontinuance process
7. Expansion of crops listed in
Schedule II to the CTA
8. Increased protection and support for
producer car and other small shippers

There are eight main recommendations to protect shippers against “monopolistic behaviour by the Class 1 rail companies” in the report, including: enhanced transparency in the rail market; continued assessment of grain movement volume, enhancements in the Level of Service process, enhanced powers of the Canadian Transportation Agency, and increased protection and support for producer car and other small shippers (see sidebar.)

The working group members also expressed support for maintaining the maximum revenue entitlement (often referred to as the “revenue cap”) for the Class 1 rail companies.

The recommendations will be submitted to the panel currently reviewing the transportation act.

This report was the third and final mandate for the Crop Logistics Working Group, in addition to providing input to the Rail Freight Service Review and an earlier report on improving supply chain performance for all crops.

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