Canada's ministers of agriculture and transport have sent a letter to the heads of CN Rail and CP Rail.

Lawrence MacAulay (agriculture) and Marc Garneau (transport) expressed "serious concerns with respect to the railways' failure to meet the expectations of shippers and customers over the course of the winter" and demanding action be taken to resolve the situation.

The letter requests that the railways provide a clear description of how they intend to mitigate the immediate backlog in the coming weeks and the plans for maintaining fluidity for the remainder of the current crop season once the backlog is clear.

The federal government is asking for this information to be published on the railways' websites by March 15, 2018.

The letter also advises the railways to prepare to respond to the requirements outlined in Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act.

Some of those measures include publishing a report on each railway's ability to move the year's grain crop, based on initial estimates of the crop size. In addition, there is a requirement to publish, by October 1, a winter contingency plan for the movement of grain, taking into account all commodities.


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