Increased rail freight rates hurt farmers

REGINA, Sask. – The Saskatchewan government is disappointed in a recent Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) decision to hike the freight revenue cap by $25 million.

Highways and Transportation Minister, Pat Atkinson, says the move is unfair toward farmers, as the CTA failed to consider rail productivity gains when forming their decision.

“This increase translates into a 3.5 per cent freight increase for farmers who are already struggling with low commodity prices,” said Atkinson. “The federal government should take immediate action to adjust the formula to include productivity gains by the railways.”

Atkinson isn’t the only official in Regina who was upset by the decision.

“Grain handling and transportation accounts for approximately one-third of a producer’s costs – by far the largest single cost to a grain producer,” Deputy Premier and Agriculture and Food Minister Clay Serby said. “By allowing an increase to the freight rate cap, the CTA has shown just how ineffective it is in protecting the interests of grain shippers.”

The CTA says the 3.5 per cent revenue cap hike is based on a 1.9 per cent underestimation of the 2000-2001 crop value, and an estimated increase in the crop value for the 2000-2001 crop year.

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