Transportation related advocacy articles

CIAC members meet with three key federal ministers to discuss rail transport issues

On December 6 in Ottawa, several CIAC members, CIAC Director of Transportation, Kara Edwards, and three federal ministers met through Transport Canada’s Commodity Supply Chain Table to discuss the chemistry sector’s experience and views related to the national transportation network.

In attendance were Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi and Minister of Agriculture, Lawrence MacAulay.

Representatives stressed to the ministers the importance of maintaining a commodity-neutral perspective while working to find solutions to rail service issues. They also pointed out that with an increase in investment in the sector expected thanks to the positive support in the federal government’s fall economic statement, additional rail network capacity will be needed to move these new goods to market. Other areas of importance included continued support for the National Trade Corridor Fund and support for the new data becoming available from the Transportation Modernization Act. The first weekly reporting of metrics through the Act began on December 10 and can be accesses here.

Additionally, recent CIAC survey results were shared at the forum, highlighting how members in Western Canada are currently experiencing very challenging shipping conditions. Our industry noted the need to work collaboratively with all stakeholders throughout the commodity supply chain to best use resources to get products to market in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner.

The CIAC Rail Committee will continue to be the main venue to engage key stakeholders in this area and CIAC will be working with Transport Canada to better track our industry’s performance within the Canadian system going forward. For more information please reach out to Kara Edwards.

Information sharing and collaboration at Alberta Chemistry Day 2018

Senate Committee includes two key amendments as Bill C-49 passes third reading

CIAC was pleased to see its two key proposed amendments included when the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications met to go through Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, on March 27.

The two amendments proposed by CIAC involved allowing the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) the ability to investigate on its own initiative and providing costing determination by the CTA in final offer arbitration.

As part of a group of key shippers promoting these two amendments, CIAC had the opportunity to discuss the proposed amendments with Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Bill C-49 has passed third reading in the Senate and will now go back to the House of Commons. CIAC does not expect the government to accept all the amendments made by the Senate, but we are working diligently to get our amendments through.

We will continue to work with Minister Garneau’s office and our rail shipper coalition partners to ensure the final bill is capable of addressing shippers’ long-standing concerns in these and other areas.

Bill C-49 will next return to the House of Commons, which is set to return on April 16.

When promulgated into force, CIAC will turn attention to working with Transport Canada to develop the necessary supporting regulations, and with Transport Canada and the CTA to ensure smooth introduction of the Act and related regulations.

More on the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications amendments to Bill C-49.

Watch the proceedings of the Committee.

TRANSCAER® Safety Train retires after nearly 30 years

After nearly three decades of providing a unique backdrop for municipalities, emergency responders and residents to learn about the transportation of dangerous goods from TRANSCAER members, TRANSCAER’s safety train, the CCPX911, was officially retired on March 28.

Upon arrival in Windsor, Ontario for one of the first TRANCSAER outreach events of 2018, an inspection identified a fatal crack on the tank car that could not be repaired.

The TRANSCAER Safety Train is a railway tank car that was converted into a classroom on wheels in 1990 to train emergency responders. It was the first training car of its kind in Canada – a concept that has since been adopted by other organizations across North America and around the world.

The safety train travelled across Canada, making stops in communities where dangerous goods travel. By travelling to communities, TRANSCAER established partnerships between manufacturers, distributors, carriers, emergency responders, government agencies and residents – an important first step in preparing for any transportation emergency.

CIAC, the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and their members and partners were responsible for creating and maintaining the CCPX 911 over the years. The CIAC owned the CCPX 911 until three years ago when it was transferred to the RAC.

Committee members will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss next steps for evolving the safety train program. Stay tuned for an update.

More on the Safety Train’s last event in Windsor, Ontario.

A short video on TRANSCAER and the launch of the safety train

First TRANSCAER Award winners recognized by their colleagues and peers

The winners of the very first TRANSCAER® Awards were announced April 10 at the National TRANSCAER Committee meeting in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

The Executive Committee was very pleased with the number and quality of the nominations recognizing the achievements of those involved in TRANSCAER.

TRANSCAER stakeholders can nominate an individual who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the program in one of three award categories: distinguished service, national achievement, and regional achievement.

Randy Mak, National and Prairie Region TRANSCAER Chair, received top honours with the Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes long-term and sustained dedication to the TRANSCAER initiative that foster growth, recognition or enhancement of this important initiative.

CIAC congratulates all winners in their outstanding achievements and commitment to transportation safety.

  1. Randy Mak (Dow Chemical) – Distinguished Service
  2. Dan Moore (Retired) – National Achievement
  3. Craig McCaskey (Retired) – National Achievement
  4. Andy Ash (RAC) – Regional Achievement
  5. Dustin Ritter (CP Rail) – Regional Achievement
  6. James Martin (CP Rail) – Regional Achievement
  7. Darlene Nagy (CP Rail) – Regional Achievement
  8. Curtis Myson (RAC) – Regional Achievement
  9. Chuck Obst (INEOS) – Regional Achievement
  10. Jean-Pierre Couture (RAC) – Regional Achievement Award
  11. Adrian Michielsen (IMPERIAL) – Regional Achievement

Visit our site for more information or to nominate someone for the 2018 TRANSCAER Awards

CIAC tells Transportation Minister to not pick winners and losers

Chemistry sector impacted by rail service issues, Globe and Mail

In an article published March 22, Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the CIAC, expressed concern on how inadequate rail service in Canada has recently disrupted production at 13 plants.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, a backlog at two major railways, Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway Co., has led to chemical, forestry, and energy shippers losing significant business this winter due to the inability to move their products in a timely and efficient way.

In the article, Mr. Masterson noted that the chemistry and other sectors have advised the federal transportation minister to rebuff requests for mandatory requirements for railways to provide preferential treatment for grain shipper. He told the Globe and Mail that it is not helpful to pit shippers against each other and that the focus needs to be on addressing systemic issues that have led to the situation at hand.

CIAC has been a strong advocate for the prompt passage of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, as a key means of beginning to address the systemic issues of rail service and congestion.

CIAC does however, see opportunities to further strengthen the Bill, which is currently before the Senate Committee, by giving the Canadian Transportation Agency the power to initiate investigations on its own and providing more transparent data in one of the few possible remedies available to shippers.

Read the full Globe and Mail article (subscription required) Chemical, mining industries say backlog causing plant shutdowns, lost sales 

For more on the CIAC’s position: Rail shipping crunch prompts ministerial intervention but doesn’t go far enough to rectify the underlying challenges for chemistry producers

CIAC collaborates with Ontario stakeholders to enhance transportation safety

On Tuesday, March 20, CIAC participated on a multi-industry panel organized by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The panel also included representatives from the Ontario Trucking Association, Responsible Distribution Canada and the Canadian Fuels Association.

Held in Toronto, the panel was organized in response to concerns from municipal leaders of towns along Ontario’s arterial highway 401 following several high-profile incidents last year – including a multiple vehicle collision on March 14, 2017 involving a transport truck carrying fluorosilicic acid. The goal of the panel and workshop was to help inform an advisory group that has been tasked with identifying potential solutions to improve the safety of transportation of dangerous goods by road, especially in inclement weather.

As leaders in the safe transportation of dangerous goods, CIAC provided insight into current collaborative initiatives underway such as TRANSCAER® and TEAP® III to better inform and enhance the group’s transportation safety recommendations and policies. The workshop was well received by the various stakeholders and speaks to the importance of working collaboratively to find solutions.

Survey says … CIAC members concerned by rail service interruptions across CN’s network

Canada’s chemistry sector relies heavily on rail transportation to move its products from production facilities to customers.  Significant issues since late November across Canadian National’s (CN) network have resulted in some negative impacts for CIAC member-companies. We decided to find out exactly what those were in a survey to members.

Initial results of CIAC members with production facilities across Canada show that seven had to curtail production in recent weeks due to rail service challenges. A total of 13 reported transportation challenges. These include all of the major shippers (more than 250 rail cars a week) and many of the intermediate shippers (between 50-250 cars a week).  Five companies have had near or actual shutdowns.  Eight members were forced to shift to other modes of transportation, when it was feasible.

It is also instructive that at least eight of CIAC members’ customers faced near or actual shutdowns.

Respondents also highlighted challenges around service issues such as last-minute cancellations; missed, delayed or partial switches; increased transit times; and inconsistent recovery plans.

The cumulative effects and larger financial impact when transportation networks fail to provide on-time service to producers is significant — responders say millions of dollars in lost product sales occurred.

CIAC has been saying for years the system needs to be able to respond faster. If we want new significant investment in the chemistry sector in Canada we need a safe, reliable and competitively priced rail service. 

This additional real-time information becomes extremely useful in recent and upcoming advocacy meetings with the government, Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency.

This is a busy time for CIAC on the transportation advocacy front.

On January 25th, CIAC met with Minister Garneau’s office.  The meeting focused on service issues, Bill C-49, and TDG and TRANSCAER®

In the coming week, CIAC has a meeting with senior officials at the Canadian Transportation Agency and CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, will be testifying before the Senate Committee on Transportation and Communication on February 6th.   CIAC’s comments will parallel previous testimony given to the committee of the House of Commons and will focus on stressing the importance of getting this Bill passed in an expedient manner.