Transportation Challenges

Canada has a global reputation as a dependable trading partner. With the world’s food supply under extreme pressure, consumers and countries worldwide are counting on Canada’s agriculture industry to help meet their food security challenges.

The entire agriculture supply chain has a role to play. Ensuring we get crops to market depends on action and partnerships with industry and government. We need timely and predictable rail and container service that moves at the speed of business.

Through the Canada’s Ready! campaign, Canada’s grain sector has developed a 4-point plan to keep Canadian Grain Moving and show the world we are ready to do what is needed to feed the world

Canada’s Ready 4 point plan includes:
  • Show:
    Rail and container services must provide timely and transparent updates on how they plan to move grain.
  • Protect
    Create an Industry/Government Labour Council that tracks the progress of collective agreement negotiations.
  • Work
    Rail and container services must provide monthly capacity updates based on the latest forecasts.
  • Measure
    Increase the utilization of comprehensive performance measurement programs like the Ag Transportation Coalition for rail to measure success and improvements.

Extended Interswitching

Canadian farmers pay the cost of transporting their grain to market, which is primarily via railways, and contributes to a staggering 20% of the railways’ annual revenue.

Canada is dominated by two railways, though 88% of grain farmers only have access to one railway, because of their local elevator’s proximity to railway tracks.   

However, for over a decade, shippers have been pushing for better service levels, especially during the winter, from Canada’s two largest Class 1 railways.

Extended interswitching promotes competition, which empowers shippers to negotiate better rates and services with their originating carrier. Providing a competitive alternative motivates rail carriers to meet the needs of their customers and provide timelier service.

The evidence is clear: railway companies have no choice but to keep more cars on railway lines and hire more workers to avoid losing business. Extended interswitching has already proven to create better service outcomes at commercially reasonable rates.

Our Position

Budget 2023 introduced an 18-month pilot project to extend the interswitching distance in the prairies, aiming to foster competition, reduce transportation costs, and expand access to Canadian goods. GGC endorses these initial steps and believes in further strengthening the policy to benefit all grain farmers.

We advocate for extending the interswitching distance to 500 kilometres, ensuring increased access to the Peace River, Porcupine Plain, and Carrot River regions. We also advocate for the pilot project to be made permanent and expanded over the country so that all grain farmers can benefit.