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Battling the shipping bottleneck

Forest industries group cheers Ottawa’s commitment to improve transportation network
May 25, 2007 036

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) applauded federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s Transportation 2030 plans to bring in measures aimed at improving Canada’s transportation system.

Unveiled Nov. 3 in Montreal, FPAC latched on to the minister’s promise to introduce legislation next spring to address concerns about adequate service, with improved access and timelines to deal with complaints, and enhanced data to benefit shippers.

The industry group said the lack of access to a reliable and efficient system is a challenge to the forest products sector and impacts Canada’s global competitiveness.

FPAC said the forest products industry is primarily an export sector that often faces bottlenecks and struggles to access reliable modes of transportation to get product to market in a timely manner.

Transportation alone represents up to one-third of the production costs of any forest products firm.

“The forest products industry is Canada’s largest export sector to Asia including China and the country’s fourth largest export sector overall.  Last year, we exported $33 billion to about 175 countries across the globe,” said FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor. “That’s why the government’s decision to invest in trade-enhancing infrastructure as well as improving dispute settlement mechanisms and providing comprehensive data to make informed decisions is so important.”

Nighbor said he is delighted Ottawa is taking action to help the industry and looks forward to working with the government and transportation companies to improve the system.

FPAC is also pleased that Ottawa promises to spend more than $10 billion dollars over the next 11 years to invest in trade and transportation projects to build a more efficient transportation corridor to move goods more quickly to international markets.