MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA — Seven months into the current 2014-15 crop year, CN said on March 11 that it has moved 4,700 grain hoppers weekly in Western Canada, a 21% increase than the same period in 2013-14.
"We are proud of CN's grain-hauling achievements, setting new records basically every month over the last year,” said Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer. “Our commitment to deliver service to Canadian grain growers is solid, and the result is a meaningful contribution to keep the end-to-end grain supply chain in sync in Western Canada.”
He said the railroad’s wait-list stands at less than 2,000 orders, which is just a few days’ worth of car supply. CN has the hopper car capacity to handle more grain right now if the waterfront terminal capacity was more fluid on the West Coast, he said.
Last week marked one year since the first government of Canada Order-in-Council (OIC) that imposed minimum grain-hauling requirements on major railways. In the 12-month period since then, CN's cumulative tonnage of Western grain has exceeded its mandated volumes by close to 2.5 million tonnes, or 10%, the railroad said.
CN has consistently said that minimum mandates were unnecessary for it to move record grain volumes. CN said the OIC should not be renewed when it expires on March 28.
CN today also announced the third round of its Commercial Fleet Integration Program (CFIP). CFIP is for shippers who want to supply privately owned or leased covered hopper rail cars for integration into CN's Western Canadian grain car fleet. These shippers benefit from year-round supply from that fleet when shipping grain to commercial destinations in the U.S. and Canada. CN is prepared to integrate up to 1,200 private cars in this latest round, for which the bidding deadline is May 8.
"The new CFIP continues CN's efforts to increase capacity for moving Western grain. It offers interested shippers, who are willing to bid to integrate cars into our fleet, with priority in our car order confirmation and service planning processes,” Mongeau said. “It's a step forward for the grain logistics system and makes good business sense."