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.

Rail Policy Work
Find a list of public submissions we have authored or which our clients have submitted in connection with rail regulatory and economic policy.


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


blue mosaic shapes

Related Expertise

Insights (10 Posts)View More

Featured Insight

Sanctions Enforcement Rising: Border Seizures and Forfeitures, Administrative Penalties and a New Reporting Obligation for Sanctions Evasion Offences

Changes to Canada’s sanctions regime under Bill C-59 will add reporting requirements for importers/exporters, create AMPs, and grant new CBSA seizure powers.

Read More
Jun 13, 2024
Featured Insight

Legal Risk Assessments – An Essential Risk Management Tool

The best way to address the legal issues that arise in any business is to focus on their identification and resolution before they become legal problems.

Read More
May 9, 2024
Featured Insight

Service Contracts Considered Automobile Insurance in British Columbia

The British Columbia Financial Services Authority issued a Regulatory Statement deeming service contracts to be automobile insurance, with no OEM exemption.

Read More
Apr 30, 2024
Featured Insight

Plan for the Ban: Canada’s Federal Plastics Registry – Let’s Talk Reporting Obligations

Canada has published the final noticing establishing the Federal Plastics Registry, requiring companies to register and report on plastics supplied in Canada.

Read More
Apr 29, 2024
Featured Insight

Warning For Businesses: Companies Can be Liable for Tort of Bribery Even if They Did Not Intend to Pay or Receive a Bribe

Businesses with a duty to provide impartial advice must take steps to ensure the payments they make or receive are not later interpreted as bribes.

Read More
Apr 12, 2024
Featured Insight

Administrative Monetary Penalties: Regulators “AMP-ing” up the Pressure on Businesses

Administrative Monetary Penalties are increasingly used to sanction regulatory non-compliance in Canada. What are they and what should you do if faced with one?

Read More
Mar 19, 2024
Featured Insight

Lexology Panoramic’s Rail Transport Guide 2024

The 2024 edition of Lexology Panoramic’s Rail Transport stands as the foremost and extensive repository of information on global railroad laws.

Read More
Feb 1, 2024
Featured Insight

Rail Policy Work

McMillan’s Rail Transportation Group regularly makes submissions to both Houses of Parliament, Transport Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency and other bodies in connection with rail regulatory and economic policy on its own behalf and on behalf of clients.

Read More
Jan 31, 2024
Featured Insight

Comparative Analysis of Canadian Rail Freight Rates

A discussion about Canadian rail freight rates and their impact on Canadian Shippers.

Jan 12, 2024
Featured Insight

Federal Government Continues the Prompt Payment Trend

The Government of Canada is moving forward with a prompt payment and adjudication regime applicable to federal government projects.

Read More
Dec 19, 2023