MONTREAL — As supply chain disruptions continue to add to the rising cost of living, Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra hopes to help fix the problem with new legislation, but said improvements will take time.
The minister tabled a bill in the House of Commons on Thursday to improve Canada's supply chain and to make the transportation system safer, more efficient and more reliable.
The legislation will help address a root cause of inflation by strengthening the country's supply chain through port competitiveness and rail safety, said Alghabra in a briefing on Thursday.
The bill will create the power to establish a regulatory framework to require ports to collect more information and share it with railways, trucking companies and shippers to enhance accountability and transparency, said Alghabra.
"What we're bringing here is a broader view of the industry instead of what has been the pattern of each organization managing its own operations independently from everything else," said Alghabra in a phone interview.
Supply chain disruptions have been cited as one of the factors contributing to decades-high inflation this year.
In 2021, freight prices peaked up to 10 times over 2019 rates, as high consumer demand and port congestion contributed to an extreme hike, said Judah Levine, head of research at Freightos.
In October, the National Supply Chain Task Force released a final report with 21 recommendations to improve Canada's supply chain, including port modernization and digitization.
The bill still needs to go through the parliamentary stages and the senate.
"We need to be honest with Canadians to let them know that some of the work that is being done will also take some time," said Alghabra.
He said that there are structural and systemic issues that will take some time to be addressed.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2022.
Caitlin Yardley, The Canadian Press