This is about empty-container repositioning on a Canada-wide basis. It's not part of the CETA trade agreement.
In the context we're looking at this, with Bill C-49, I would caution perhaps that when we talk about the costs of repositioning empty containers, the costs are not only financial. Yes, you will always have an extra financial cost, especially when you're using truck or rail, but there are other costs.
Let's say you're a shipowner and you're doing a regular service from Montreal to Halifax. You have a pile of empty containers at Montreal and you have a customer in Halifax who needs 300 containers for export. Your ship is going from Montreal to Halifax in any case. It's part of your regular run. Right now you can't load those empty containers on your own ship. You have to put them on rail or you have to import them. If you're putting them on rail, you're subjecting those containers to additional moves. They're not just going from the port to the ship. They're going to the rail yard and they're being put on the railcars. There are more moves. There is more handling of the container. Yes, of course you have your additional external cost associated with the rail movement, but you also have logistical delays. Your containers are being moved at the convenience of the railway, not at the convenience of the carrier and of the exporter. You're adding elements to the chain, which are costs, yes, but there are also other elements in the form of time, in the form of additional moves.
By the way, the railways would much rather not haul empties, because they generate more revenue hauling laden containers. You're making what could and should be a very simple logistical process a lot more complicated than it needs to be, and you're adding a lot of trade-chain impediments along the way, so I would caution you to maybe not think of it only in terms of costs.