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CN to be fined for under-hauling grain

Canadian National Railway (CN) is set to be fined for allegedly failing to meet its now-mandatory minimum weekly grain handle.

The as-yet unspecified penalty would be the first under the federal Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act passed earlier this year. [Related story]

The Act requires CN and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) to move a minimum of about 500,000 tonnes of grain each per week, on pain of up to $100,000 per day in federal administrative monetary penalties (AMPs).

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Following a Globe and Mail report Wednesday on the planned fine, Jana Regimbal, press secretary for Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, confirmed by email late Wednesday to that “as CN was not able to meet the minimum volume requirements, (Raitt) has decided to issue (AMPs) to the company.”

The size of the penalty in this case, Regimbal said, will be “up to the minister’s discretion.”

Globe writer Eric Atkins on Wednesday quoted CN CEO Claude Mongeau as telling an investors’ conference in Montreal that there “has not been enough demand” from Prairie grain shippers for the railway to meet the federal order, thus suggesting the winter-long grain backlog which spurred the federal legislation has cleared.

Atkins quoted Regimbal as saying the amount of the AMP will be based on the number of weeks CN didn’t meet the minimum shipping requirement.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, through a spokesperson, was quoted in the Globe article Wednesday as saying he was “concerned” the minimums were’t being met

The Toronto newspaper also quoted CN spokesman Mark Hallman as saying the railway hadn’t yet been informed that it’ll be fined. — Network


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