Alberta Forest Products Association lobbies for improved rail service

Photo by Curtis Galbraith.

By Curtis Galbraith


AFPA, northern mayors pushing for better rail service for the forestry industry

Apr 21, 2022 | 12:12 PM

The mayors of a half-dozen northern communities have signed a letter from the Alberta Forest Products Association to the Deputy Minister at Transport Canada talking about problems with rail service.

The AFPA talks about what it calls rail transportation challenges making it difficult to get products to market and includes examples of companies having problems getting enough rail cars.

Among those who signed the letter was Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton.

“Talking to industry, we know that CN is having distribution issues across the region. This is something that council is currently working on as a significant advocacy priority,” she explained.

“This letter that I signed onto also identified areas where CN and federal transportation can improve.”

It also includes recommendations on how to improve the rail system.

“Enhanced support from the federal government in transportation and port operations. It talks about banning the current practice of bartering rail cars where a car goes to the highest-paying industry. It provides discussion on operation in a winter city, winter region. We know Canada is a winter country,” adds Clayton.

The recommendations also include having railways be part of a solution to climate change and having a system more equitable to all commodities. Railways can be made to pay a penalty if set amounts of some things are not shipped.

Clayton says this isn’t meant to assign blame to CN.

“In particular, that letter identifies issues that forestry is facing but it also provides solutions (and) ways forestry thinks that they could be served better as an industry.”

The mayors of Whitecourt, Slave Lake, Hinton, Edson, and Athabasca have also signed the letter.


Nice one