Canadian Railways Ration Space as Congestion Problems Worsen

Canada’s two major railways are rationing space on trains travelling to the country’s biggest port and recently prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, the latest indication of their struggle to meet demand from new trade deals, said the Financial Post via Reuters Monday.
That move prompted Canada’s transport regulator last week to start an investigation into rail services around Port Metro Vancouver, after shippers complained of “discriminatory treatment of certain commodities” by Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP).
Both railways last month rationed the volume of traffic around Vancouver by restricting movement of some commodities, such as peas, lentils, pulp and paper, according to shipper notices seen by Reuters.
CP imposed the restrictions, called embargoes, on three specific transloaders — facilities that empty rail cars into containers for loading onto vessels. These transloaders handle peas and lentils, but were prevented from doing so in December for days at a time, said Greg Northey, director of industry relations at Pulse Canada.
Embargoes also added costs for pulp and paper producers, who are trying to bolster ties with Asian buyers amid ongoing tariff disputes with the United States.

Poor rail service costs the forest products industry $500 million (US$376 million) annually, the association said. December’s problems cost mills as much as a further $1 million each, said the Forest Products Association of Canada in an interview with Reuters.


CN said freight shipments are up 10 per cent from November to mid-January year-over-year.

District of Delta Says Port of Vancouver Expansion Needed for Roberts Bank

Meanwhile, Canada will face a capacity crunch that will have far-reaching economic implications if the Terminal 2 proposal at Roberts Bank doesn’t proceed, warns the Port of Vancouver, according to the Delta Optimist Tuesday.
The port authority in recent weeks submitted an updated project rationale and overview document to the federal independent review panel looking at the proposed three-berth container terminal, a document that reiterates the port’s contention that T2 represents the best option to accommodate growth and is needed to deliver capacity as demand for goods shipped in containers continues to grow.