February 9, 2011

Canada: Rail important to economic future

Wednesday, Canada's Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, participated in a roundtable discussion in Ottawa on Rail 2030, the Railway Association of Canada's project to develop a common industry vision for the future of rail.

In his lunchtime address to public- and private-sector partners in the rail industry, Minister Strahl recognized the continuing importance of rail to Canada's economic future. Rail is, he said, a key part of the North American supply chain and global trading network that stretches to and from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Minister Strahl also underlined the value of partnerships and collaboration in fostering transportation research for an increasingly knowledge-driven sector.

"Our vision is of a future integrated transportation system that is sustainable, competitive, safe and secure, serving the needs of shippers, passengers and all Canadians," said Minister Strahl. "Our government will be working in partnership with you, your colleagues in other modes and your stakeholders to remove barriers, find solutions and encourage cooperation."

Minister Strahl highlighted the collaborative work being done by industry, government and academic researchers through Transport Canada's Railway Research Advisory Board. The board is actively examining new approaches and seeking solutions to address transportation challenges such as infrastructure renewal, congestion, rising energy costs, environmental concerns and mobility.

"When we talk about preparing for Canada's future prosperity, we know innovation must play a role," said Minister Strahl. "Investing in the right technologies, research and business strategies will provide a competitive edge by improving efficiency, reliability and sustainability."

Organized by the Public Policy Forum and the Railway Association of Canada, the roundtable brought together representatives of the railways and the rail supply chain, including shippers, ports and intermodal terminals, to identify and develop key drivers of change within the rail industry. Participants also discussed industry goals and recommendations for innovative technologies to help reach these goals.

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