* Shippers, railways failed to agree on changes
* Railways wary of more regulation, shippers want reliable
Dec 10 The Canadian government will unveil
long-awaited legislation on rail freight service on Tuesday in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, the heart of the country's grain sector.
The legislation, as an amendment to Canada's Transportation
Act, has pitted shippers like grain handlers, miners and movers
of commercial goods, against railways Canadian National Railway
Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
The shippers want better service, and some say this should
include penalties for poor service, while the railroads dislike
the idea of additional regulation that they say could make the
system less efficient.
Representatives of shippers and railroads spent four months
in a government-sponsored committee this year trying, but
ultimately failing, to develop both a template for service
agreements and a dispute resolution process. Penalties are one
Last month, Chief Executive Claude Mongeau of CN said
imposing service obligations on rail companies might help one
shipper, but hurt others down the line as railroads are large,
Shippers, including farmers, say they need protection from
the market power of the two dominant Canadian railways. Unlike
the United States, the Western Canada crop belt does not have a
river system to move grain to port.
The legislation requires approval by Canada's House of
Commons and Senate.
Transport Minister Denis Lebel and Agriculture Minister
Gerry Ritz will hold a news conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday
morning, the Conservative government said late on Monday.