Frustrations Rising with Deteriorating Grain Movement

For Immediate Release January 30, 2015

Frustrations Rising with Deteriorating Grain Movement

The Ag Transport Coalition (ATC) has compiled information that measures the railways (Canadian National and Canadian Pacific) performances on the movement of western grain. The recently released data shows a continued trend of car orders going unfulfilled and/or orders being received late. Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) Acting President Ray Orb commented that “the numbers highlighted by the ATC report show that the railways performances continue to be subpar. This situation is becoming very frustrating.”

The ATC found that in week 21 of the current crop year CN and CP supplied only 1,100 of the 4,400 hopper cars that were ordered for delivery in this week. This means that only 25% of orders made for delivery in week 21 were met; 3,300 hopper cars ordered did not ship. Looking at the full crop year to date, the railways have failed to supply 11,461 hopper cars ordered by shippers.

In addition to the un-fulfilment of orders, there also lies an efficiency problem in wait times. To date approximately 48% of orders have been outstanding for 4 weeks or longer. Almost half of the car orders made this year have arrived 4 weeks late.  Furthermore, the dwell times for CN at country origin locations averaged 50 hours in week 21 and CP dwell times averaged 41 hours.

These statistics don’t represent an anomaly nor can they be justified by cold weather issues. The weather conditions we have been experiencing this year have been ideal for the movement of grain. Acting President Orb said “SARM believes that more grain should be moved during the winter months to preserve road and highway infrastructure and to avoid backlogs.”

The railways are not providing an adequate level of service. The findings from the ATC reinforce the notion that the rail system requires some major changes; as suggested in SARM’s submission to the Canada Transportation Act review. The need for change in Canada’s rail system is well documented and the importance of the agriculture sector to Canada’s economy is as important as ever in the current economic climate.

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“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”

For more information please contact:

Ray Orb                                                         Jay Meyer

Acting President                                          Executive Director

(306) 536- 2778                                              (306) 761-3721