POP: Producer Car Loading Sites
Res #: POP 3-10A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Transport Canada
WHEREAS the right to a producer car is guaranteed to farmers under the Canada Grain Act;
WHEREAS producer car loading sites are necessary in order to enable farmers to load rail cars themselves;
WHEREAS there must be a sufficient number of widely-disbursed and accessible loading sites to ensure that producer cars are practical and affordable;
WHEREAS producer cars enable farmers to save more than $1,000 per car;
WHEREAS the use of producer cars is a competitive measure to keep evaluation and handling charges under control; and
WHEREAS shipping grain by rail minimizes the use of fossil fuels, the emission of green house gases and reduces road maintenance;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM call upon the Government of Canada to repeal Section 151.1 part (3) of the Canada Transportation Act which allows a railway to eliminate a siding (producer car loading site) from its list of available sites at their sole discretion, thereby ending the possibility of loading producer cars at that site.
Response from Honourable Rob Merrifield, P.C., M.P., Minister of State Transport:
I am writing in response to your correspondence regarding the closure of producer rail car loading sites by Canadian National. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.
As a third-generation farmer, I recognize that rail transportation is vital to many export commodities and understand the importance of producer car rail loading sites. Upon learning that Canadian National was going to close 53 producer car rail sites, I contacted the railway. It committed to keep the 53 loading sites that it had posted for closure in place until at least the end of 2009, which represented an extension of four months.
This additional time was intended to allow for consultations with farmers interested in maintaining any of those sites. The loading sites are still in place, but Canadian National has not received any expressions of interest from the farming community to keep these sites open. In the last three years, 39 of these sites have not been used, and almost all of the remaining 14 have been used sparingly.
If you are aware of a group of farmers looking to use one of the sites marked for closure, please send the farmers' names and the site they would like to use, as well as the number of cars they will need, to Mr. Greg Keon, Market Manager, Marketing – Bulk Commodities, Canadian National, at the following address. I would ask that you also copy me on any such correspondence.
935 de La Gauchetiere Street West