Ottawa Extends and Adjusts Weekly Grain Mandates for Railways

The federal government is extending — but also reducing — the weekly minimum grain shipping requirements for Canada’s two national railways, as it aims to resolve the remainder of the grain backlog in Western Canada.

A new Order in Council will take effect on Sunday, November 30th and require CN and CP Rail move between 200,000 and 465,000 tonnes of grain per week through March 28th, 2015 (see table below.) The previous OiC, which was implemented on August 1st, required the railways move 536,250 tonnes per week until November 29th, 2014.

“Our government continues to act to ensure that grain and all commodities get to market in a timely manner. We continue to call on all parties in the grain supply-chain to work together to ensure the efficient movement of grain to markets through the winter,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a Transport Canada news release distributed late Saturday.

Penalties for non-compliance under the new Order remain capped at $100,000 per violation.

The railways are required to submit winter contingency plans to the federal government, including service plans for producer car loaders and short line railways. CN and CP are also expected to provide reports on car order fulfillment by corridor, including the placement of rail cars at producer car loading sites and along short line railways.

The government says the total grain supply for the 2014-15 crop year is estimated to be 71.8 million metric tonnes; including a 56.4 million metric tonne crop and carry-over from the 2013-14 crop year of approximately 15.4 million metric tonnes.

Winter Grain Movement Requirements for CN and CP:

Time periodMetric tonnes per week
Nov. 30, 2014 to Dec. 20, 2014345,000
Dec. 21, 2014 to Jan.  3, 2015200,000
Jan. 4, 2015 to Feb. 21, 2015325,000
Feb. 22, 2015 to Mar. 21, 2015345,000
Mar. 22, 2015 to Mar. 28, 2015465,000

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