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Canada to take close look at rail service

Canadian government officials are about to begin a thorough review of rail service, but they're first soliciting recommendations on the best way to go about it.

Yesterday, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon announced the government is inviting comments from interested parties on draft terms for a review of Canadian National Railway Co.'s and Canadian Pacific Railway's service. Comments are due May 11. Draft terms already been reviewed by the Coalition of Rail Shippers, CN and CPR, and revised per their feedback.

Expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, the review would analyze Canada's rail-based logistics chain, including shippers, terminal operators, ports and vessels, and focus on service to shippers within Canada, as well as to and from ports and border crossings.

"There is widespread [shipper] support for this review because it will identify service problems and their impacts, and make recommendations to improve Canada's rail-freight logistics system," said Cannon in a prepared statement.

The review would be conducted in two stages. First, consultants would gather and analyze data from shippers, railroads and terminals, assess rail operational issues, and conduct shipper surveys on best practices and issues, while Transport Canada would determine how service issues are addressed in other transportation sectors, and in U.S. and Canadian regulated industries. During the second stage, a three-person panel would develop recommendations based on the first-stage results, consult stakeholders on draft recommendations and submit a final report to Cannon.

The government expects to finalize the review's terms by May's end.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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