National Newswatch

Similar action underway in the U.S.


Ottawa—The main freight railways operating in Canada would have to file detailed freight handling information with Transport Canada under changes proposed by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

The information on waybill, traffic, and service and performance would show their customers and government how well the carriers are moving freight across the country, he said.

A 60-day public consultation period on the proposed amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations will be held to gauge the impact the changes would have. The feedback from them will be considered in the development of the final regulations.

These new reporting requirements would provide rail users and the public with much more relevant and precise information relating to rail service and performance, Alghabra said. The amendments reflect the government’s commitment to strengthening Canada’s supply chains in support of the broader economy.

“Having access to more detailed service and performance information for Canada’s rail sector would contribute to even more productive exchanges among supply chain members, as they work to move Canadian goods in support of Canada’s future economic success.”

The six railways affected by the order are Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern.

The move follows months of complaints from shippers about the railways’ performance during the past winter, Transport Canada said. It is “imperative to have the enhanced indicators available to stakeholders as early as is practicable to increase transparency and accountability.

The railways are facing a similar action in the U.S. where the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is requiring railroads to submit service recovery plans, additional data and regular progress reports on rail service, operations and employment.

The information will inform STB’s assessment of further actions that may be warranted to address the acute service issues facing the rail industry and to promote industry-wide transparency, accountability and improvements in rail service, the agency said.

Transport Canada said its railway-reporting plan is geared to the Canadian transportation situation. “As such, the transitional requirements need to be refined and expanded upon to provide a more robust and transparent picture of rail service and performance in Canada to better meet the needs of data users, for example rail shippers, terminal operators, port authorities, and trade associations, while balancing the benefits and burdens of reporting.”

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