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Railway performance didn’t change much in 2018-19 compared to the previous crop year, says Mark Hemmes, Canada’s grain monitor. Nevertheless the railways shipped a record volume of grain.

Another year, another round of broken grain transport records

Western grain movement, export records set in 2018-19 crop year

The 2018-19 crop year, ended July 31, was record setting for Western Canada’s grain-handling and transportation system. While industry officials are pleased, they agree the system needs to move even more because farmers keep producing more. “At the rate we are going today… by the time we get to 2030 we’re going to be looking

CN and CP’s financial and operating results for the second quarter both made records.

CN and CP quietly posted strong results

Grain and intermodal were among strong sectors as the railways enhanced their networks

Canada’s two major railways have quietly gone about their business in the past year, turning in strong financial performances and building up their networks, even as economic storm clouds gather. They overcame wicked winter weather to record a record grain haul for the crop year ending July 31. As of September, they were still enjoying


Photo: File

Crop year ends with grain export record

Both major railways have announced record grain shipments, and with a more than a week left in the crop year, total Canadian grain exports had already topped last year’s record. The Canadian Grain Commission reports that as of July 21, with 10 days left in the 2018-19 crop year, total exports of Canadian grain had

Grain shippers worry trains like these will displace hopper cars, especially in light of an Alberta government program to buy oil cars.

Grain shippers wary of railways’ crude oil plans

Officials from both CN and CP Rail say increasing oil traffic will not hurt their grain service

Western grain shippers are watching closely to ensure their rail service doesn’t decline as oil shipments increase. “We would be concerned if either railway were to reduce grain capacity in favour of crude oil,” Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association said in an interview Dec. 5. “Regardless of what the needs

Grain shippers say it’s taking some time to bring all the provisions of the new transportation law into effect, but they’re not concerned.

Transport regulation changes unused

It’s partly because grain is moving well, but it’s also taking time to develop level-of-service agreements

Most of the provisions designed to improve rail service for grain in the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49), which became law five months ago this week, have yet to take effect. But that’s neither a surprise nor a disappointment to Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), which pushed hard for


Sean Finn, CN Rail’s executive vice-president of corporate services and chief legal officer, says attracting and retaining train conductors is a challenge despite good wages and a pension.

Looking for a good paying job? Try CN Rail

It’s not 9 to 5 so attracting and keeping conductors is a challenge

CN Rail has hired 1,200 people to be train conductors and after spending about $85,000 training them, the company hopes most decide to stick with it. But it’s not easy attracting and keeping conductors, despite a starting wage of $85,000 a year and a defined benefit pension, says Sean Finn, CN Rail’s executive vice-president of

Th passage of Bill C-49 will see CN invest in new grain cars and other infrastructure to move grain faster across the Prairies.

CN investing to improve grain transportation

The railway didn’t get everything it wanted in Bill C-49, but it was enough to trigger millions 
of dollars in capital spending, including 1,000 new high-capacity grain cars

A top CN executive says Bill C-49 is already sparking a wave of grain transportation investments. Both CN and CP Rail have ordered 1,000 new high-capacity grain cars and are investing in other infrastructure to move more grain faster partly due to the legislative changes, says Sean Finn, CN’s executive vice-president of corporate services and

Bill C-49: Helping the railways farm the farmers

This legislation is flawed and will deregulate railways by stealth

Here we go again! Some Prairie farmers cannot ship their grain. Grain companies and their friends are blaming the railways for not getting the grain to port. After months of railway lobbying, the federal government is pushing new transportation legislation, claiming Bill C-49 will punish the railways for neglecting grain shipments. Yet this legislation effectively


Calls grow for passage of transport bill to amend and quickly pass Transportation Modernization bill

As grain movement grinds slower shippers are calling for action on the transport file

Calls for quick passage of C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act are increasing, as are requests for interim relief for farmers who can’t move grain because of poor rail service. And several groups want C-49 amended so a similar backlog doesn’t happen again. The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission and the Agricultural Producers Association

More collaboration and better communication is credited with improving Western Canada’s grain-handling and transportation system. One example of better communications occurred last fall when Doug MacDonald, CN Rail’s vice-president of bulk (standing top centre), and other CN officials, met with western Canadian farm leaders at the Port of Vancouver.

A new day for grain transportation?

With record port throughput occurring twice in the crop years following the 2013-14 shipping backlog it ‘feels’ that way

The great grain backlog of 2013-14 was a disaster, costing western Can­adian farmers billions, but there’s a silver lining: since then, grain movement has never been better. “I think it really was a wake-up call for a lot of parties, especially governments, and people who aren’t necessarily as close to the (grain transportation) issue,” Wade