Canadian Shipper


CIFFA addresses feds on concerns about legislated grain movements

 TORONTO, Ont.–The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) has addressed the federal government in a letter dated March 14, over the association’s concerns about legislated rail moves.

H. Ruth Snowden, Executive Director, wrote to the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, as well as the Honourable James Flaherty, then Minister of Finance, regarding the Government of Canada’s recent action in issuing the Order in Council of March 7, 2014, which  specifically addresses a unique situation regarding the movement of grain from Canada’s farmers.

Snowden said the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) “has no comment on the necessity for or content of the OIC. However, on behalf of its 250 member international freight forwarding firms, we are writing to you today to express our concerns on the widely reported intention of the Government of Canada to introduce legislation in the House of Commons regulating the movement of grain. As reported in today’s Leader-Post, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced that ‘legislation is currently being drafted to ensure that grain gets moving and moves well year after year.’

Canada’s freight transportation networks are complex, inter-connected systems that rely on the balance of several factors and the actions of several stakeholders. We urge the Government of Canada to exhibit caution when considering the introduction of legislation which would regulate preferential treatment of just one type of good, grains – and consider the impacts of such legislation that might adversely affect the movement of goods other than grain. Any advantages given to grain would certainly challenge an already stressed network to the disadvantage of other goods shipments,” Snowden stated.

There are fears any such legislation  “raises the subject of re-regulation in the rail industry.”

“Certainly any legislation would require appropriate public consultations and input from a broad array of stakeholders and could not be something that could be rushed through Parliament. While the movement of grain and other commodities are critical, so too are the movement of other types of goods. On behalf of thousands of Canadian exporters and importers, Canadian international freight forwarders arrange the transportation of hundreds of goods via rail, usually in intermodal containers sold to Canadian export customers overseas or consumed by purchasers here at home. We are concerned that any legislation regulating the movement of grain would adversely affect the movement of intermodal cargo, which is also critical to the country’s continued growth and prosperity,” said Snowden.