GFM Network News


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What gives? Grain shipping records… and service complaints

“There have been some challenges — a couple of bottlenecks in some places and some issues at the port once in a while, but overall I think we’ve had a good run of it.” – Sean Finn, CN

Canada’s railways continue to move record grain volumes but that doesn’t mean rail service woes have disappeared, the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) warns. February marked the 12th month in a row that CN Rail moved a record amount of grain. It shipped 2.28 million tonnes, up seven per cent from the previous record of



Railways overshoot grain revenue limits for the last crop year

Railways overshoot grain revenue limits for the last crop year

Canada’s two big railways will pay $5.6 million for exceeding the maximum revenue cap for hauling Prairie grain. CN Rail and CP Rail overshot their maximum revenue entitlements (MREs) for the year by $3,170,615 and $2,170,010 respectively, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled last month. The overages, plus a five per cent penalty, are payable to the Western

The great grain transportation turnaround

The great grain transportation turnaround

From bad to best, Western Canada’s grain-handling and transportation system has made huge improvements in the last 25 years

Twenty-five years ago critics claimed Western Canada had one of the worst grain-handling and transportation systems in the developed world. Yet today it’s among the best, says Canada’s grain monitor Mark Hemmes. Far from perfect, and still vulnerable to costly disruptions, including right now, the system from farm gate to terminal spout has been revamped

CN celebrates independence anniversary

CN celebrates independence anniversary

Last month marked 25 years since the company was privatized in what was then the largest initial public offering in Canadian history

CN is celebrating a quarter-century of privatization. The company, which was at the time Canada’s largest and oldest Crown corporation, was the largest IPO in Canadian history. On Nov. 17, 1995, investors spent C$2.25 billion snapping up shares. The company is using the celebration to tout its transformation into “… a world-class transportation leader and


CN touts best grain month ever

CN touts best grain month ever

Record comes as company prepares to receive new grain hopper cars sooner than planned

With two days left in October, CN was already celebrating a new monthly record for grain movement. It had already shipped more than 2.88 million tonnes, the previous record set in October of 2019, and at press time were anticipating exceeding the “previously unattainable” three-million-tonne mark. “This unprecedented performance follows seven record months of Canadian

CN says it’s set with a strong winter program and the resources to deliver, raising the possibility grain shipments could set a new all-time record three crop years in a row.

Grain-shipping three-peat possible

Western Canada could ship another record amount of grain this crop year but it’s going to take good management and good luck

While the 2020-21 crop year is young, when it ends next July 31 it’s possible western Canadian grain shipping will have set another record — the third in a row. A three-peat requires a big crop, rail capacity, good management and luck, but it’s off to an unprecedented start, says Canada’s grain monitor, Mark Hemmes,

CN invests $105 million in Manitoba capital projects

CN Rail will invest $105 million in capital spending in Manitoba in 2020, Sean Finn, CN’s executive vice-president of corporate services and chief legal officer, said in an interview July 15. About half the money will be used for maintenance, including rail and tie replacement, bridges, level crossings, culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure.


Protests which began in February and stretched into March caused rail shipping disruption threatening critical shortages for a variety of goods.

CN executive thanks customers for patience, warns protesters

Sean Finn, CN rail’s executive vice-president of corporate services and chief legal officer, is thanking customers, including farmers, for their patience in the wake of a rail shipping backlog. His message to the protesters, whose blockades added to the backlog, is their actions put themselves and CN staff in danger. Several times CN trains came

Despite the real upset the CN Rail strike caused for several sectors, the almost immediate calls to end the strike with back-to-work legislation were premature.

Comment: No politician wins in CN strike

Partisan antics at the expense of farmers won’t play well with Canadians

Elected officials took different approaches to handling the Canadian National Railway strike — but none of them come out of it looking good. When roughly 3,200 yard workers and train conductors represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference walked off the job Nov. 19, they did so in protest of safety concerns. They highlighted issues