CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — Canadian Pacific (CP) moved more Canadian grain and grain products in 2019’s final quarter than any prior quarter in the company’s history, the company announced on Jan. 6.

Shipping totals came in at 7.9 million tonnes grain and grain products, breaking the company’s prior quarterly record from the 2018 fourth quarter by 400,000 tonnes:

The record-breaking quarter included:

  • October: 2.66 million tonnes (second-best month on record)
  • November: 2.74 million tonnes (an all-time monthly record)
  • December: 2.50 million tonnes (the best-ever December)

As of Dec. 31, 2019, CP’s movement of grain for the 2019-20 crop year was 12.17 million tonnes, up 2.1% over last year. The 2019 calendar year, which includes portions of two separate crop years, was a record at 27 million tonnes.

“2019 has been a banner year for CP and the Canadian grain supply chain despite the challenging economic and environmental conditions,” said Joan Hardy, vice-president of sales and marketing for grain and fertilizers at CP. “These month-after-month records are a testament to the hard work from everyone involved. From field to rail to port, all stakeholders have collaborated closely to ensure we are delivering for farmers and the Canadian economy.”

CP now has more than 2,170 new high-capacity hopper cars in its fleet and plans to have 3,300 cars by the end of 2020. These cars are part of CP’s plan to spend approximately $500 million on acquiring 5,900 new hopper cars over four years, as announced in June 2018. The high-efficiency hopper cars are contributing to the capacity that CP is offering for the movement of grain. Shippers are loading more than one tonne of extra grain per car compared to the same period last year.

CP said its 8,500-foot High Efficiency Product (HEP) train model is a significant factor in the record-breaking quarter. As of today, 15% of the high-throughput elevators that CP services are handling these longer, high-efficiency trains, which can carry up to 44% more grain per train.

By the end of 2020, it is expected that more than a quarter of CP-served train-loading facilities will be HEP-qualified. 

“The CP team has worked hard to support our customers’ supply chains through this challenging fall,” Hardy said. “Late harvest, rainy periods in Vancouver and other disruptions threatened to slow the movement, but tight planning with customers enabled us to keep the grain moving. We recognize that there is crop left to harvest in spring due to the wet conditions this past fall, and the entire supply chain will need to work together to maximize its efficiency and move the balance of the crop. With the investments made in facilities and in the supply chain by CP and shippers, I’m confident that the Canadian grain industry will continue to deliver strongly and efficiently.”