Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralson, is asking the federal government to develop plans to improve CN Rail’s services. (Shannon Lough photo)

Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralson, is asking the federal government to develop plans to improve CN Rail’s services. (Shannon Lough photo)

Northern B.C. rail service is unreliable and inadequate, trade minister says

Bruce Ralston pushes federal minister of transport to ensure reliable supply of rail cars

“The impact of unreliable, and inadequate, rail service extends far beyond grain producers in northern B.C.,” Bruce Ralston wrote in a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

Ralston, the minister of jobs, trade and technology, is asking Garneau to develop plans with northern B.C. chambers of commerce to improve CN Rail’s services.

“Lumber mills and other industries, from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, are also being seriously impacted by the lack of rail service,” Ralston’s letter continued. He added that companies have been discouraged from investing in northern B.C. because of CN’s unreliable service.

A backlog in the Canadian Prairies has already had an impact on business in North Coast B.C. In Prince Rupert, the terminal manager for Prince Rupert Grain Ltd., Bruce Grant, said the company had to cancel 350,000 tonnes of business in 2017 and expects to cancel more due to delays in shipments from CN Rail.

The letter comes three weeks after CN apologized to their grain customers for poor service — an announcement that came two days after the company’s CEO Luc Jobin resigned effective immediately.

CN Rail