REGINA, Sask. — The Jan. 28 Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) hearing investigating Canadian National (CN) Rail’s grain service could have a huge effect on grain shippers, according to insiders.
A complaint against CN by Saskatchewan’s Nader Seed and Grain is at the root of the investigation. Nader accuses CN of providing insufficient levels of services over a specified period of time.
“This case is significant not only to the grain industry, but to other industries that rely on railway service,” says Mel Annand of Melfort, Sask.
There is speculation that the Hudson Bay Railway Co. may be allowed to compete with CN, if the national railway is found to have provided inadequate levels of service.
“There is an opportunity for the CTA to say when there has been a breach of the service obligation, the agency will order other service providers to be allowed to provide service,” Annand tells local media. “It will enhance competition.”
He adds that if the CTA doesn’t allow more competition, then shippers will be “permanent captives to the market power of a single rail supplier.”
CN plans to argue that there were no levels of service problems and that competition isn’t necessary. Two weeks have been set aside for the hearing.
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