Rail Service Sore Spot for KAP Members
Source: ckx news
Published: July 10th 2008

“The railways have bundled their service packages into packages that aren’t accessible to smaller shippers,” said Ian McCreary of the Canadian Wheat Board.

That was the cause for discussion at the KAP meeting. For more than an hour presenter after presenter stated their frustration at the poor quality of rail service in Canada.

“It could be 40 below in the winter when were called to haul,” said an annoyed Robert McLean, Chair of the KAP Transport Committee. “We get it to the terminal and find out the railways aren’t going to deliver the car.”

Reg Dyck is on the farmer Railcar Coalition. He said, “We need an efficient rail system and one that’s responsive to needs.”

Farmers and KAP members say as rail service has declined over the last few years the costs to ship keep rising. And they’ve added new fees.

“If you don’t load a car in the right amt of time there are penalties applied. When it gets to the port if you don’t unload a car in the right amt of time at the port, there’s penalties applied. And of course all these penalties come back to the farmer,” said McLean.

CN rail defends themselves saying, “The rail is part of a very long and extensive logistics chain. What we do, is encourage timely loading and unloading of grain at the terminals because that makes sure it moves efficiently.”

Producers are not the only group unhappy with rail service. One exporter we spoke with says delays with railcars cause his company to miss vessels at the port. This can result in a cancelled contract from a buyer overseas. Both farmers and buyers agree they’re at the mercy of the rail company

CN responded. “At the mercy (laughs), we move their product that’s what we’re paid to do, and we believe we do it fairly well.Let me turn that around were at the mercy of the farmers, to grow the grain and the mercy of the grain companies to sell it.”

KAP hopes the Federal Government will curb some of the costs and force the rail lines to be accountable when they do a review later this year.

“It was 1992 when the cost formula that we currently use was set,” said Ian Wishart, KAP president. “Were paying for things that aren’t even happening anymore.”