Light trail of the train
Light trail of the train
Light trail of the train


Given Canada’s expansive geography and the importance of exports to the national economy, securing reliable and economic transportation is essential to doing business in Canada. McMillan provides a broad spectrum of services in the transportation and distribution sector, including regulatory analysis, commercial advisory services and advocacy in contested proceedings.

Whether you need legal expertise in rate and service negotiations or disputes, operations and logistics, commercial undertakings, regulatory matters, or government relations efforts, we can help. McMillan is well equipped to advise on supply and procurement relationships and to assist in commercial transactions such as the acquisition, financing and disposition of transportation businesses and equipment, private infrastructure investment and development, public-private partnerships, joint ventures and strategic alliances.

Our strong relationships with industry participants, third party service providers and consultants in the fields of economics, costing, safety and environmental regulation, and other fields, uniquely qualify us to provide a broad suite of services to the transportation and distribution sector, particularly in the rail and marine modes, as well as in connection with terminals and logistics.


McMillan’s rail transportation group has been described by Chambers Canada as “likely the most experienced and knowledgeable in the country.” Our specialized, expert counsel is frequently sought out by other law firms, shippers, shortline railways, rail equipment manufacturers and lessors, governments and carriers in Canada and the United States.

Businesses that ship by rail face unique challenges in an environment that often lacks competitive alternatives and requires significant commercial, economic and legal support to succeed. Those same businesses may engage with railways in ways that require a broad range of advice and leadership.

We are known for our advice, advocacy, and conduct of a wide variety of rail-related mandates:

  • competitive and strategic analysis in support and conduct of rate and service negotiations;
  • advocacy in contested regulatory and court proceedings, including final offer and service level arbitrations, level of service disputes, and regulated interswitching;
  • public policy advocacy and government relations;
  • transfers or discontinuance of railway lines and other regulated transactions and disputes;
  • structure, development, financing and construction of infrastructure projects;
  • shipping and handling agreements at inland and seaborne terminal facilities;
  • rail and terminal mergers and acquisitions;
  • supply chain logistics and procurement;
  • finance, acquisition and leasing of rail rolling stock.


McMillan Rail Shippers’ Guide.
This guide provides a high-level overview of shippers’ rights and remedies when shipping freight by rail under the Canada Transportation Act and related regulations.


With an export-driven economy, marine transportation is a vital part of Canada’s economy. Marine transportation, including the acquisition, use and operation of ships, is affected by regional, national and international regulations.  The marine industry is affected by changing economics and technological innovation so it is important to stay on top of emerging trends and issues.  McMillan’s expertise in maritime and transport law helps ship owners, charterers, suppliers and other marine operators navigate these complex matters.

We combine strategic foresight about the industry with a strong track-record of assisting many leading organizations that engage in marine commerce. Our lawyers anticipate challenges before they surface and assist our clients with day-to-day operational matters in the maritime sector.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Purchase and sale of vessels and marine assets;
  • Negotiating ship financing agreements;
  • Ship registration and importation of non-Canadian vessels into Canada;
  • Negotiating ship construction contracts.


McMillan’s lawyers deliver sound legal advice to port and terminal operators and their stakeholders in a wide range of marine and surface transportation matters.

Key focus areas include:

  • structure, financing and construction of major infrastructure projects at ports, including private equity, public infrastructure and public-private partnerships;
  • handling agreements for businesses using or operating terminal facilities;
  • the governance, regulation and operation of port authorities;
  • issues relating to port property, environmental protection and land use.


McMillan’s transportation lawyers have significant experience in the interconnected transportation industry and a solid understanding of the issues that every trucking and logistics company faces. We advise clients in the surface transportation sector and have worked for some of the largest Canadian and international trucking companies. We also work with clients who operate within the broader industry, including vehicle credit and leasing firms, and clients who outsource transportation and logistics.

McMillan’s transportation lawyers help clients in the trucking industry by advising on provincial, federal and US regulatory matters, including the carriage of dangerous goods; assisting with customs and immigration matters related to vehicles and employees; managing security registrations and clearances with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; advising on border security issues, customs and cabotage compliance; providing counsel on the import and export of controlled goods, including food and pharmaceuticals; representing clients in cargo claims and dangerous goods litigation; and counselling clients on operational matters, including employment law, corporate and commercial transactions, and real estate.

Primary Contacts

View All Contacts

Ryan Gallagher

Partner, Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment | Transportation

François Tougas

Partner, Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment | Transportation


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