CN touts the success of new grain program

CN Rail is touting the success of its Scheduled Grain Service Plan, pointing to a record year for shipping canola with the amount of canola shipped through Prince Rupert Grain matching a record.

CN Rail is touting the success of its Scheduled Grain Service Plan, pointing to a record year for shipping canola with the amount of canola shipped through Prince Rupert Grain matching a record.

According to CN, over 125,000 grain cars made their way to either Vancouver or Prince Rupert in the last crop year, a period that ended on July 31, which is a 20-year high for CN. That traffic equated to 6.7 million tonnes being shipped to Vancouver and a sixth-straight year of four million tonnes being shipped to Prince Rupert Grain.

While the amount of canola shipped by the terminal last month was down slightly, so far this year Prince Rupert Grain has shipped 34.5 per cent more canola than in the first seven months of 2010 and the overall traffic is up 4.8 per cent to just under three million tonnes.

“This is the most canola CN has ever moved in one crop year. Alberta farmers planted record acres of canola last year, enjoyed strong yields, and harvested a record crop. Our customers then did an excellent job of promoting and selling the product in overseas markets,” said  Andy Gonta, CN vice-president of Bulk

Products.

While pleased with the success of the plan and the increased volume, CN says it still plans to re-examine it and find better efficiencies for both farmers and customers.

“We listened to what our customers were telling us, and learned some lessons about how to better collaborate across the entire grain supply chain,” said Mike Cory, CN senior vice-president, Operations, Western Region.

“We expect another big year for the West Coast, and we’re working with our customers to ensure all available capacity is used effectively.”