Proposed regs would require railways to share more data

by Emily Atkins

The federal government is proposing amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations to collect new freight rail information intended to increase transparency and competitiveness of the freight rail system.

The proposed amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations would require class 1 rail carriers to report to Transport Canada on waybill, traffic, and service and performance information, for the benefit of all rail users.

The affected class 1 railways are Canadian National; Canadian Pacific; BNSF Railway Company; CSX Transportation, Inc.; Union Pacific Railroad Company; and Norfolk Southern Railway Company.

Canada’s freight rail system moves more than 332 million tons of goods each year.

The Transportation Modernization Act (TMA) introduced temporary requirements for class 1 rail carriers to report service and performance information (which is reported publicly) and waybill data (which is confidential). These requirements will remain in place until they are replaced by regulations.

While these temporary reporting requirements served the purpose of ensuring that data would be available soon after the TMA received royal assent, they also left significant room for improvement.

Minor adjustments are being proposed to the waybill-reporting requirement for the largest class 1 rail carriers, while the requirement would be eliminated for smaller class 1 rail carriers. Smaller class 1 rail carriers would instead be required to report a new smaller suite of traffic data.

These new reporting requirements would provide rail users and the public with more relevant and precise information relating to rail service and performance, Transport Canada says.

“Having access to more detailed service and performance information for Canada’s rail sector would contribute to even more productive exchanges among supply chain members, as they work to move Canadian goods in support of Canada’s future economic success,” said transport minister Omar Alghabra in a statement.

A 60-day public consultation period follows the publication of the proposed amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part I. The feedback collected will be considered in the development of the final regulations.