Canadian supply chains need improvement

Government needs to be more closely involved

Ottawa-Canada’s supply chains must become more efficient at moving products and the government needs to better understand how its policies impact the shipping of goods across the country, says Ron Lemaire, President of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

The Canada Border Services Agency must make certain the national supply chain system is working and focus on problems that shippers face moving goods in and out of the country, he said during a panel discussion at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Farmers and many others need to be able to receive quick access to information on problems affecting supply chain operations, he said. Problems at the international levels need to be identified and dealt with as well.

“Governments need to understand the chains function as part of business and how we are looking at making the system work better.” Misaligned federal rules do not help with reducing costs. “We need to get the various departments involved to work together more closely on this. Ownership of the issue is not in any one department.”

Michael Graydon, CEO of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, said the supply chains need to have traceability and predictability and the regulatory system should make sure they do.

The railways should invest in freeing up bottlenecks in their networks. “We need netter coordination in the supply chains, Graydon said. The government has to have the tools to make the supply chains function.

Marc Brazeau, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada, said railway freight rates in Canada are below the global average. CN and CPKC have worked on supply chain problems and invested in beefing up their networks. “We need to keep supplying the world.”

Better co-ordination within the supply chains would benefit the railways. The government must have the tools to make the supply chains function the way they should, he said. A lot of port fees have increased “but anything we can do to move more traffic through our systems the better.”

Arun Thangaraj, deputy federal transport minister, said his department has been working on supply chain issues since 2020. The supply chains stretch over distances few countries face. There are no control points within the federal government for dealing with supply chain problems. “To deal with them, we have to take a close look at all the supply chain pressures.

“We learned a lot of things how they work. It became clear that a national supply chain strategy was needed. Making it sustainable is important. We need more work with the the Great Lakes and the Seaway.”

This news item was prepared for National Newswatch