Ottawa Seeks to Extend Rail Interswitching Distance

The federal government’s 2023 budget calls for a new pilot program to again provide Prairie grain shippers with extended interswitching.

A non-financial line item in that envelope calls for the government to introduce amendments to the Canada Transportation Act for a “temporary extension, on a pilot basis” of the interswitching limit in the Prairie provinces, to “strengthen rail competition.”

Interswitching rules commit one rail carrier to pick up cars from a shipper, then deliver them to another railway for the line haul.

Federal rules generally allow grain elevators and other shippers to use interswitching for up to a 30-km radius.

Expanding that maximum radius, would support competition among rail carriers by enabling rail companies to access tracks owned by another rail provider within the limit, under rates regulated by the Canadian Transportation Agency.”

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