CN Rail has ordered 1,000 new-generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields.
“This substantial investment in higher-capacity payload hopper cars, with up to 10 per cent more capacity than the older generation, demonstrates our commitment to safely, efficiently and reliably moving the steadily increasing Prairie grain crop for our customers,” JJ Ruest, CN’s interim president and chief executive officer said in a release May 24. “With this week’s news of regulatory certainty, we can now make decisive long-term investments that will benefit the entire grain industry.
Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay welcomed the news when speaking at an event celebrating the legislation becoming law May 24 at an elevator near Stonewall, Man.
CN’s new cars will be 55-foot, eight-inch jumbo hoppers with 5,431 cubic feet of capacity.
CN’s 12,000-car western Canadian grain fleet is comprised of CN-owned hoppers, leased cars and private customer equipment.
Older, lower-capacity cars will be phased out.
“Canada’s grain hopper cars are rolling toward the end of their lives,” said Kyle Jeworski, president and chief executive officer of Viterra. “Over the last several years, Viterra has made significant, targeted investments in its country grain elevator network, and we welcome this major investment and commitment by CN to get Prairie grain to world markets.”
The cars will be built by National Steel Car Ltd. at its Hamilton, Ont. plant, creating more than 300 new full-time jobs, said company chair and CEO Gregory J. Aziz.
“Coupled with CN’s order for 350 centrebeam lumber cars, this additional 1,000 grain car purchase will result in the hiring of more than 550 additional people at our Hamilton facility, which currently employs over 1,500.”