CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) is prepared to move this year’s Canadian grain crop to market, in close collaboration with its customers and the broader supply chain — that was the message delivered during a roundtable session with the Canadian federal Ministers of Agriculture and Transport. 

“Today was a great opportunity to sit down with Minister (Lawrence) MacAulay and Minister (Marc) Garneau to highlight our plans for this upcoming crop year and show how we are dedicated to grain,” said Joan Hardy, CP’s vice-president of sales and marketing – Grain and Fertilizer. “Through strategic investments, on-going collaboration and communication, and significant planning, we have built the foundation for continued success in grain.”

The roundtable, held in Saskatoon, was an opportunity for the two federal ministers to hear directly from companies and stakeholders across the grain supply chain.

CP moved 25.8 million tonnes of western Canadian grain and grain products, soybeans and other non-regulated principal field crops during the 2017-18 crop year, up 1% over the 2016-17 crop-year and 1% above its three-year average.

In its July 31 letter to Garneau, CP published a detailed plan to move this year’s crop. Based on current forecasts, CP’s operating team has a target of spotting approximately 5,500 hopper cars for Canadian grain weekly through the fall, until the closure of the Port of Thunder Bay on the St. Lawrence Seaway. This target is the outcome of an efficient and effective supply chain and is based on continued communication and collaboration. When the seaway closes, CP plans to target approximately 4,000 cars per week, based on the same factors. CP sizes its operating plan carefully to match supply-chain capacity, and the plan assumes the supply chain will run at or near capacity throughout the season.

CP said it continues to invest in resources to accommodate growing demand across its network. The company has more than 700 employees in training and by the end of summer will have added more than 100 remanufactured locomotives to its fleet. CP plans to spend more than C$1.55 billion in capital investments in 2018, replacing depleted track assets and upgrading its network.

The company said it is undertaking a number of innovative steps, in collaboration with customers and stakeholders, to further improve the efficiency and capacity of the grain supply chain.

CP is investing half a billion dollars in 5,900 new high-capacity grain hoppers to replace the aging low-capacity government of Canada fleet. The company also is continuing to develop its 8,500-foot train model in collaboration with customers that operate elevators and destination terminals handling the trains. These trains will be able to haul up to 20% more grain per train than the current 7,000-foot model, and up to 44% more grain per train when combined with new high-capacity hoppers.

These innovations build on CP’s popular Dedicated Train Program (DTP), which allows customers to lock-in dedicated unit trains to serve their facilities for the entire crop year.

CP reiterated its call for all participants in the supply chain to operate 24/7 through the busy fall period, and to maintain open lines of communication with one another.