Aug. 22 (CNS Canada) – Canadian National Railway (CN) said it moved a record 21.8 million tonnes of Western Canadian grain during the 2016-17 (Aug-Jul) crop year.
That marks a two per cent increase over its previous grain movement record set in 2014-15.
The railway reported in its year-end grain report, that it also recorded six monthly shipping records from September through March when grain prices are usually highest.
CN surpassed its previous three-year shipping average with seven per cent more in tonnage and it credited part of that to the addition of 200-car grain trains that move grain faster and more efficiently.
As well, CN said the increased use of distributed power and air repeater cars, which allow for longer trains and better braking during extreme winter weather, also boosted shipments.
The company also cited a willingness for all parties in the supply chain to collaborate and a more commercially based car ordering system as boons to greater shipments.
“CN expanded commercial agreements that guarantee car supply in advance to our customers both large and small,” CN’s vice-president of bulk Doug MacDonald said in a news release.
“This commercially driven innovation includes reciprocal penalties, which drive accountability for both shippers and CN, and allows our customers to make market-based decisions.”
Customers secured about 70 per cent of CN’s car supply in advance under commercial agreements.
CN also said that the federal government must fund improvements to Vancouver export terminals to help it cope with growing traffic.
With nine new country elevators built since 2015 and seven more expected to start up in the next 18 months, current rail infrastructure could be challenged, especially at the Port of Vancouver, said the CN report.
In 2016, Vancouver handled 22 million tonnes of bulk grains.