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Saskatchewan’s Export Potential: The Impact of Rail Access

The Conference Board of Canada, 168 pages, June 25, 2015
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This report demonstrates the importance of the rail freight transportation system to Saskatchewan’s economy, and analyzes the extent to which disruptions can act as a barrier to Saskatchewan reaching its export target by 2020.

Document Highlights

To help achieve its Plan for Growth, Saskatchewan needs to double the value of its exports. This report demonstrates the importance of the rail freight transportation system to Saskatchewan’s economy, and analyzes the extent to which disruptions can act as a barrier to Saskatchewan reaching its export target by 2020. Using interviews, literature, and data, a model that relates export demand to demand for railway capacity was constructed. This model helped provide an estimate of the extent to which Saskatchewan’s export growth targets will rely on railway capacity. From there, the extent to which rail capacity fall could constrain export growth was also estimated. The report also includes potential recommendations for improving the efficiency of Saskatchewan’s rail-based supply chains and ensuring that they will not be a constraint to export growth in the future.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1—Introduction

  • Purpose
  • Methodology
  • Organization of the Report

Chapter 2—Why Exports Matter

  • Why Care About Exports?
  • Which Exports?
  • Saskatchewan Export Growth Target
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3—Why Rail Transportation Matters to Exports

  • Value and Quantity of Rail Exports
  • Export Reliance on Rail
  • The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and Projected Rail Volumes
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4—Rail Service and the Competitiveness of Saskatchewan Exports

  • Understanding Supply Chain Logistics
  • Rail Costs and the Competitiveness of Supply Chains
  • Key Policies Relevant to Railway Transportation
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5—Rail Capacity: Looking Ahead

  • Port Terminal Considerations
  • Key Rail Corridors
  • Investments and Expansions
  • Inland Terminal Expansion
  • Export Terminal Capacities
  • Grain Terminals
  • Configuration of Competitor Supply Chains
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6—The Economic Impact of Constrained Railway Capacity and Reliability

  • The Impact of Freight Transportation Reliability
  • The Economic Impact of Railway Service on Saskatchewan’s Economy
  • Conclusion

Chapter 7—Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Recommendations

Appendix A—Bibliography

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No charge, funded by The Conference Board of Canada and/or the research sponsor