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  • Ronald Dawson
    DepotNews.com NewsWire Ottawa should consider initiatives with railways, CPR head says Source: Associated Press Publication date: 2000-12-05 MONTREAL (CP) --
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2000
      DepotNews.com NewsWire

      Ottawa should consider initiatives with railways, CPR head says
      Source: Associated Press
      Publication date: 2000-12-05

      MONTREAL (CP) -- The head of Canadian Pacific Railway took aim Tuesday at a
      federally appointed review of transportation laws, saying it should focus on
      new partnerships in the railway industry instead of tighter controls.
      Robert Ritchie, president and chief executive officer of the Calgary-based
      company, said the government should consider forging ``partnerships'' with
      railways and other transportation modes to help the industry reach its full

      He cited commuter services for passengers and truck-on-train technology as
      examples of joint initiatives that could benefit the transportation
      industry, government and the public.

      But instead of examining such policies, the panel reviewing the Canada
      Transportation Act is looking at tighter regulations that would limit the
      railways' ability to price differentially, he said.

      ``Isn't it a shame that in this period of legislative review most of the
      debate is about measures that aggravate the problem of under-achievement,
      not correct it?'' Ritchie told a luncheon attended by about 340 members of
      the Canadian Railway Club.

      ``A lot of our energy, unfortunately, is directed at defending the already
      compromised position of the industry.''

      Ritchie bemoaned the fact the panel is pondering how to cut freight rates at
      the high end of the scale by reducing the railways' ability to set rates on
      the basis of demand.

      He said some companies, including grain firms from the West, want lower

      The panel has a Dec. 31 deadline for submitting its interim report on
      whether Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway should be required to
      open their networks to smaller railways.

      Ritchie did not offer many specifics on what possible partnerships with the
      government would look like, saying at this point he is just ``posing the

      But he pointed to CPR's Expressway service, which offers truck companies a
      congestion-free rail alternative between cities in the Montreal-Detroit
      corridor, as a possible model.

      Canadian Pacific Railway Co. reported net income of $276 million for the
      first nine months ended Sept. 30, up $29 million or 12 per cent from the
      previous year.

      Ritchie downplayed comments made two weeks ago by David O'Brien, the
      chairman of CP Rail parent company Canadian Pacific Ltd., suggesting it
      could eventually get out of the railway business.

      The conglomerate now generates most of profits and growth from its hotel and
      energy business.

      ``David was not saying he wouldn't be in the railroad business, he was
      saying he was looking for prospects for growth,'' Ritchie told reporters
      after his speech.

      ``He does not see those in the railway business as much as he sees them in
      energy and hotels. My job is to convince him otherwise.''

      Both CPR and CNR have said they are willing to share their networks with
      each other to improve customer service when it makes commercial sense.

      But on Monday, CNR said Canada's railways cannot withstand tighter
      government regulation that would open their network to competitors.

      The Associated Press News Service
      Copyright 2000 by The Associated Press
      All Rights Reserved

      The information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
      broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The
      Associated Press.

      Publication date: 2000-12-05
      © 2000, YellowBrix, Inc.
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