Friday, March 7, 2014

It's time to nationalize Canada's railroads

It has taken an act of parliament to coherce Canada's rail duopoly to move prairie grain to ports for export.

Apparently the invisible hand of the free market wasn't enough.

Coming from the corporate bag-lickers in the Harper gang, this market intervention could not have been easy.

They are in effect acknowledging that the "free market" doesn't work.

Which it obviously doesn't.

Both of Canada's national railways were built with huge public give-aways in the form of land concessions and cash hand-outs. The railways have been more than happy to keep the land and keep the handouts. They've not been that happy about keeping up their end of the bargain.

Their end of the bargain was to provide rail transport of both people and commodities from coast to coast. Those railway ties were the ties that bound Canada together.

CP Rail had a wildly self-promoting letter in major Canadian papers the other day signed by Hunter Harrison, the American who has presided in turn over the demise of both CN and CP. The letter was an apology for the cold weather. That's why CP hasn't been able to ship last year's grain crop.

Hunter neglected to mention that since he arrived at CP Rail, 400 locomotives and over 10,000 rail cars have been idled.

I'm no expert on how railways work, but I have a hunch that idling 400 locomotives and 10,000 rail cars would reduce the amount of product a railway could carry.

Which would go a long way towards explaining why Canada's 2013 grain harvest is rotting in grain elevators instead of being shipped to market.

Curiously enough, one never encounters stories about Bakken crude not being able to find rail cars to take it to market.

No comments:

Post a Comment