Shifting the needle – Part three: FMA

by John Corey

Do you know what Canadian industry associations are doing to improve business conditions in 2023? Here’s a primer on what some of the major industry groups are tackling this year.

Freight Management Association of Canada (FMA)

John Corey

Mandate

FMA primarily serves the shipper community, both nationally and internationally. As the national voice of the shipper, the FMA’s mandate is to represent the freight transport concerns of the buyers of freight transportation to all levels of government in Canada and to UN and other relevant international agencies.

Today’s challenges

We are addressing four main challenges in 2023. These are: Lack of competition in the rail and ocean container service industries; the need for robust government action to address carrier dominance in the rail and ocean container service markets; the shortage of skilled labour in the freight transportation sector, particularly trucking; and the need for infrastructure investment in rail, ports, inland terminals, roads.

2023 priorities

Our priorities this year, in advocating for shippers, are:

Improving intermodal services, primarily by ocean carriers.

Monitoring rail service in Canada and the U.S. to flag problems of equipment supply, on-time service, rail safety, adequate experienced staffing, and infrastructure investment.

Encouraging action by the government in response to the Supply Chain Task Force final report.

Working on a global basis on the problem of transportation of invasive species in and on containers with governments, ocean carrier industry and UN agencies, to ensure actions will mitigate the invasive species problem while not causing significant delays and additional costs.

Monitoring major transportation labour agreements and keep the shipper community informed of potential work stoppages.

Recent wins

Along with other shipper associations, the FMA made a submission to the Canadian Competition Bureau to bring attention to the anti-competitive behaviour of ocean carriers who serve Canadian customers. During Covid, there were serious service issues or no service at all and very high rates. The FMA continues to ask Transport Canada to repeal the Shipping Conference Exemption Act (SCEA), the act that allows ocean carriers to reduce competition. The FMA is an active member of the Global Shipper Forum, and is working to develop a strategy to reduce the movement of invasive species in and on ocean containers.