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Backlog of grain rail shipments leads to lost sales and exports in Canada

With railcar order fulfillments from Canada’s two major railways at 38 percent, the nation’s grain producers and shippers are being hit both in the pocketbook and in reliability ratings. The situation has been called dire by the Western Grain Elevator Association.

Harsh winter weather and maintenance work are being blamed for the deficiencies by the rail companies, for which delivery of cars have been at 66 percent of orders by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., and only 17 percent by Canadian National Railway Co.

Additionally, since August, Canadian National Railway Co. has canceled almost 13,000 hopper car orders, and another 996 orders for hopper cars from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. haven’t been filled, noted the Ag Transport Coalition.

“We have to be very competitive when we’re selling our grains on the worldwide market, and the world is looking at us, saying that we’re not a reliable shipper anymore,” said Grain Growers President Jeff Nielsen to the Financial Post.

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