Some good news from Saskatchewan. Dawson
SASKATCHEWAN GOVERNMENT: Saskatchewan calls for open access to rails
October 26, 2000
The Government of Saskatchewan wants open access in the rail industry as a
way to reduce shipping costs for farmers and other shippers. The province
made the recommendation in a submission to the Canada Transportation Act
(CTA) Review Panel.
Open access permits any rail company to operate on any other rail company's
lines in exchange for fair compensation.
"The main thrust of the Saskatchewan submission to the federal government is
a planned and progressive transition to open access in the rail industry,"
Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag said. "Open access will
save all shippers money on shipping costs. It's an idea whose time has
Saskatchewan recommends that over the next several years, the federal
provide information on the level of compensation and fair rate of return for
use of the rail infrastructure;
allow any person to apply for running rights (the right to run a train on
another company's rail lines), unless the owner can prove it would be
detrimental to the public interest; and
provide access to dispute resolution mechanisms for rail companies
exercising joint running rights.
"There is a need to move quickly to put into place interim measures that
allow new entrants to the railway business an immediate opportunity to start
operations," Sonntag said. "The CTA deregulated major sectors of the
transportation industry, including railways. The railways made changes to
better serve their own bottom lines and not necessarily to provide
efficient, effective service."
The Review Panel will make its interim recommendations on rail competition
issues to the federal government on Saskatchewan's submission, and those of
other provinces and interested parties, by Dec. 31, 2000.