Rail rates go up

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SASKATOON, Sask. – The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has handed down a ruling that allows for an increase in rail freight rates to a maximum of 4.5 per cent. The ruling impacts Canadian Wheat Board grains, as well as canola, oil seeds and mustards. The new rates will take effect Aug. 1. It is estimated that the increase could cost Saskatchewan producers as much as $25 million annually.

“It’s very unfair that this increase is happening at a time when the railway companies are enjoying huge profits,” said Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag. “CN announced a 41 per cent profit increase in its first quarter.”

Saskatchewan’s position has long been that any change to grain handling and transportation must benefit producers first. Rail line abandonment and elevator closures have meant producers are turning in ever-increasing numbers to the use of trucks to transport their goods. n

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