Bill C-49, formally known as the Transportation Modernization Act, passed in the spring of 2018 with the promises of more transparency from the railways, reciprocal penalties within service agreements and long-haul interswitching options, among others.
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Transport changes get good reviews

Grain industry players say the legislation that modernized transportation regulations two years ago is generally working as intended. Bill C-49, formally known as the Transportation Modernization Act, passed in the spring of 2018 with the promises of more transparency from the railways, reciprocal penalties within service agreements and long-haul interswitching options, among others. Farmers applauded […] Read more

Chris Heikkinen, finance and communications co-ordinator with the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said the port recorded another strong month for grain shipments in May. | Photo courtesy Port of Thunder Bay

Grain still pouring through Thunder Bay

Prairie grain continued to flow through the Ontario Port of Thunder Bay at a brisk pace last month, buoyed by strong export demand for wheat and a rail system that’s been moving grain at a record pace since early March. Chris Heikkinen, finance and communications co-ordinator with the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said the port […] Read more

In an exclusive interview with The Western Producer April 17, Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice-president of corporate affairs with Richardson International, said the Canadian grain industry has been working

Grain supply chain performing ‘pretty well’

A top executive at Canada’s largest grain handling and exporting company says the country’s grain supply chain has performed reasonably well despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an exclusive interview with The Western Producer April 17, Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice-president of corporate affairs with Richardson International, said the Canadian grain industry has been […] Read more


Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, said Canada’s ability to continue servicing customers hinges on the transportation system and for the grain companies he represents that means relying on the two national railways to continue to perform.
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Shippers reassure nervous buyers

Canada’s grain customers are getting antsy about food security, say industry officials. “What we have seen is communication from some of our more important trading partners that are looking for certainty of supply into the future,” said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. There has been contact at the trade association […] Read more

This shipping season has highlighted how vulnerable the system is to a myriad of disruptions, said Pulse Canada president Greg Cherewyk. There has been a

Interruptions are inevitable, grain transportation needs backup plan

Canada needs a transportation resiliency plan, says a senior executive of a major agricultural commodity group. This shipping season has highlighted how vulnerable the system is to a myriad of disruptions, said Pulse Canada president Greg Cherewyk. There has been a “perfect storm” of obstacles in 2019-20. But there will always be something interrupting the […] Read more


Canadian National Railway Co lost capacity equivalent to 10,000 carloads or 1 million tonnes of grain exports in February due to rail blockades by protesters opposed to a pipeline project, Chief Executive Jean-Jacques Ruest said on Tuesday. | File photo

CN faces grain export backlog of 10,000 carloads

MONTREAL, March 3 (Reuters) – Canadian National Railway Co lost capacity equivalent to 10,000 carloads or 1 million tonnes of grain exports in February due to rail blockades by protesters opposed to a pipeline project, Chief Executive Jean-Jacques Ruest said on Tuesday. Activists disrupted passenger and freight traffic last month to show solidarity with the […] Read more

Mark Hemmes, a grain transportation expert and president of Quorum Corp., says larger grain supplies will continue to put pressure on Canada’s major rail companies and on the country’s transportation infrastructure.
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Larger grain supplies may pressure system

Transportation expert worries rail and grain-handling capabilities may not keep up with increased crop production

Western Canadian grain supplies have steadily increased during the past two decades and they show no sign of slowing down. That says a lot about the productive capabilities of prairie farmers, but it also raises concerns about the ability of Canada’s grain-handling and transportation system to move greater volumes of grain each year. Mark Hemmes, […] Read more

The company announced today that shipping returned to peak levels and that it took on all customer demand during the second week of December. | File photo

CN movement back on track after strike

Canadian National Railway has recovered from the recent labour strike, saying movement is back at a regular pace. The company announced today that shipping returned to peak levels and that it took on all customer demand during the second week of December. “After a tough harvest due to adverse weather and an eight day labour […] Read more


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) says Canada’s regulated rail system lowers export costs by capping the amount of revenue the two main railways can earn hauling grain in Western Canada.
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U.S. raises red flag over revenue cap

Canada’s grain exporters are taking umbrage with complaints from south of the border that they are receiving trade-distorting transportation subsidies. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) says Canada’s regulated rail system lowers export costs by capping the amount of revenue the two main railways can earn hauling grain in Western Canada. “Rail rates limited by statute, rather […] Read more

Rail cars line the sidings adjacent to the Viterra grain terminal near Sexsmith, Alta. The cars could be sitting there awhile because of a strike by Canadian National Railway workers.  |  Randy Vanderveen photo

Farmers, provinces urge action in CN strike

Provincial governments and farmers urged Ottawa earlier this week to immediately address the Canadian National Railway strike, saying the labour dispute could have far-reaching implications for the agriculture industry and the Canadian economy. All of CN’s Canadian bulk freight traffic has essentially come to a halt since 3,200 of the company’s conductors, train workers and […] Read more