Moly-Cop's Kamloops operation is demanding that rail service be returned to its plant six weeks after Kelowna Pacific Railway shut down.
The company says it has a right to service under the Fair Rail Freight Service Act — legislation that passed only last June.
"We shouldn't be held captive by major railways," said Maurice Hindle, Moly-Cop sales manager. "We're just asking the railway to live up to its obligation."
Last week, the company sent a request for an immediate return of service to the federal regulatory body, the Canadian Transportation Agency.
The Fair Rail Freight Service Act gives industries the right to a service agreement with railways and creates an arbitration process should negotiations fail.
But the process of getting service to Moly-Cop may take as long as two months and that will take a toll on the company's bottom line.
The manufacturing firm, which employs 67 workers, has been using trucks to deliver its steel grinding balls to mining clients.
That's unsustainable since it's costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, said Hindle.
The company is also undergoing an expansion, which will double its capacity.
"The political and regulatory systems that (railways) operate in are currently in place to prevent this," said Hindle. "What we have to do is get more sensitivity and reactivity from them to companies like ourselves."
The company resorted to appealing to the federal regulator after getting the run-around from both CN Rail and CP Rail, Hindle said.
"We've tried our best to talk to them but they've both pointed us in the opposite direction," said Hindle. "If we go to CP, they say go to CN. If we go to CN, they say go to CP."
The situation is complicated because although CN Rail subcontracted Moly-Cop's rail service to KPR, the line is actually owned by CP Rail.
CP is ultimately responsible for providing service, said MP Cathy McLeod, who got involved in the issue at Moly-Cop's behest.
"I've been in discussion with the minister's office. I've been in discussion with CP Rail representatives indicating that this is an important company and is experiencing challenges and encouraging an earlier resolution," she said.
The bill improves the situation for companies relying on rail line monopolies, said McLeod.
"It's much better than things used to be but for (Moly-Cop) it's still a long time-frame," she said.
CP declined to comment.
Meanwhile, John McEown, a trustee with KPR receiver Boale, Wood and Company, said CN Rail is in the process of deciding whether to continue operation on the KPR line.
"We'd hoped to hear something last week to be honest," said McEown. "I haven't got anything further at this point. We're still on hold but it should be any day."
But Hindle said he's heard it all before.
"We've heard this almost every time we ask what the status is. Now this is six weeks into it, so it's getting a bit thin."
CN Rail will only say it's working with the receiver to "discuss the process going forward."
"We understand Moly-Cop's concerns, however, service will likely not be restored until the issues with KPR are resolved," said CN spokesperson Emily Hamer.
Also in discussion with the receiver is the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.
Representative Bill Willows said it's too early to say what it would mean for the 40 to 50 laidoff KPR workers if CN began operating the line.
He said the union has a "fairly healthy relationship" with Boale, Wood and Company because it appears to genuinely want to continue some form of operation.
"Although that's going to be contingent on CN Rail's ultimate decision," said Willows.