Arbitration: Rail level of service

What is rail level of service arbitration?

If a shipper and a carrier are unable to negotiate a contract, arbitration can be used to establish a level of service agreement.

An arbitrator reviews the facts submitted by the parties and establishes a level of service agreement by making a decision which is confidential and legally binding.

Note: Issues related to existing level of service contracts can be handled through rail arbitration or one of our other options for dispute resolution.

Types of disputes Disputes between Possible outcome Timeframes

Level of service contracts

Shippers &

The arbitrator makes a legally binding, confidential determination on service contract terms. The arbitrator is not limited to choosing between the parties’ positions.

45-65 days or longer if parties agree.


Who initiates  the process? Who arbitrates the dispute? Who chooses the arbitrator? How much does it cost?

The shipper.

A shipper must give the Agency and the railway company 15 days advance notice before requesting arbitration.

The railway has 10 days to object.

An Agency arbitrator.

The Agency.

No costs for an Agency arbitrator. There may be travel and venue costs that the parties have to share.

For a comparison of the Agency’s dispute resolution methods, see options for dispute resolution.

How can I apply for level of service arbitration?

To request arbitration, follow the steps set out in how to apply for level of service arbitration.

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