A FMA member company has reported new penalty charges that are included in a revised version of CN Tariff 9000, Shipping Regulations and Optional Services – Carload. This latest version of Tariff 9000 takes effect July 1, 2020.

Included in this revision is a new section entitled “Safe Operating Practices” that introduces three new tariff items which CN could use to impose financial penalties on shippers for safety violations, as defined by CN, on shipper property. These three new tariff items are scheduled to take effect September 1, 2020

The new items are:

  1. Life Critical Rule Safety Violations (Item 13800): penalty charges: $2,000 first violation and $10,000 subsequent violations
  2. Track Maintenance (Item 13850): $500 per occurrence for first 2 incidents and $10,000 per occurrence after the first two incidents
  3. Unauthorized presence on CN track (Item 13900): no penalty charge, but subject to suspension of service

These provisions raise a number of questions:

  • Does CN have the authority to impose penalty charges for actions on shipper property?
  • Is there any potential conflict with government regulations, for example related to TDG regulations?
  • Does current safety experience warrant such broad rules?
  • Are the fines and denials of service appropriate or reasonable penalties?

FMA members are requested to provide their comments on how these new provisions and the associated penalties could impact their respective companies. Comments can be sent to John Corey, FMA Vice-President, at corey@bellnet.ca . It would be appreciated if comments could be sent to John no later than Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Depending on the feedback from members, we may convene a conference call or Zoom meeting of the FMA Rail Committee to determine a course of action in response to these new provisions. There are several possible actions open to the shipper community in response to these new tariff provisions.

All company specific information will be kept confidential and only aggregated information will be used in any communications with government agencies.

The first red bar below is the link to the full Tariff 9000, effective July 1 and the second red bar is the link to the new tariff items 13800, 13850, and 13900.