February 26, 2018
Farmers losing out as rail service goes from bad to worse
Rail service reaching crisis levels and the grain value-chain has no tools to hold railways accountable
Ottawa (February 26, 2018) – Grain farmers across Western Canada are demanding better service from Canada’s railways. As grain sits in bins and elevators across Canada, farmers are left unable to market grain; exporters can’t fulfil contracts and customers around the world are questioning Canada’s position as a reliable supplier of grain.
“Despite assurances that they were prepared, railways seem to be caught off guard by cold weather. Grain farmers remember the 2013/14 grain shipping crisis, and this year is threatening to be a repeat,” said Grain Growers of Canada President Jeff Nielsen. “Once again railways are proving that they can’t be trusted to move our grain and proving why the grain industry needs tools to be able to hold the railways to account, or at least to be able to take our business to another railway.”
Rail service levels are reaching record lows. According to the Ag Transport Coalition, car order fulfilment by the two railways was only at 38% of demand during the week of February 12th (grain week 29). CN only delivered 17% of the rail cars that grain shippers ordered – a historic low for the railway.
“No other sector would stand for the poor service that the grain industry receives,” said Art Enns, GGC Vice-President. “But no other sector is at the mercy of the railways the way the grain industry is. What’s worse is that the railways continue to penalize the grain industry when there is a slippage in performance, but there is nothing we can do when the railways only show up a third of the time they’re needed. This unacceptable situation needs to change.”
Grain growers have joined with their partners in the grain value chain to call for quick passage of Bill C-49. With targeted amendments, Bill C-49 can be an important part of the solution to better rail service for grain farmers. To make their voice louder farmers are calling for the railways to #moveourgrain and for Parliament to #passC49.
Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.
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