Transport solutions

As it relates to food transport, the Efficiency stage is characterized by technological efficiencies, but with attention to excluding initiatives that reinforce existing capital relations. Equally important, while this stage can address issues of individual or firm behaviour, it should do so in a way that does not blame them for what are wider structural phenomena (as highlighted above).

At the substitution phase are new organizational arrangements, the substitution of processes and practices, and consistent with Geels (2011), alternative / niche activity introduced o the dominant flow of change.  What new structures can be put in place for better food transport planning? What regulatory instruments might move firms from efficiency measures to this stage?  At this stage, advocates must be careful not to install infrastructure that will not be used at the redesign stage.

Redesign of food system and transport is proposed through the lens of demand-supply coordination.  A system built on demand-supply co-ordination shapes production processes to meet consumption requirements that improve the health of the population.  It takes more of a “feed the family well, trade the leftovers” approach (Kneen, 1992).  Transport of course is critical to trading the leftovers, but is designed to respect ecological and social imperatives.

Using this transition framework, I elaborate below on policy and regulatory initiatives to improve food transport. To date, the market has proven itself unable to do so in a significant way and although there have been improvements, particularly at the efficiency stage, there is a significant role for the state, particularly beyond efficiency.  Existing policy legitimates the kinds of interventions proposed here, especially with modification of one passage of the policy. Under section 5 (the National Transportation Policy Declaration), the CTA states that “(b) regulation and strategic public intervention are used to achieve economic, safety, security, environmental or social outcomes that cannot be achieved satisfactorily by competition and market forces and do not unduly favour, or reduce the inherent advantages of, any particular mode of transportation;”.  This policy is also applied in the Motor Vehicle Transportation Act.  It is not explicitly referenced in the Canada Shipping Act but certain aspects of the policy declaration are echoed in objectives of the Act. Given what we now understand of transportation impacts and the need actually to favour certain modes, the last section from “and do not unduly .....  “ should be removed.  Such an alteration would create a robust policy framework for the strategic interventions proposed below.