On Tuesday, CN Rail's Executive Vice President was in Edmonton talking with farm groups.

Sean Finn says he wanted to come to Alberta to apologize for the grain backlog in person.

"In March we did apologize to our grain customers, farmers in Western Canada, and a lot of our customers for not having provided a service at the level they expect and are used to having from CN. We let them down."

Finn says, one of the main questions he was asked at the meeting was how did this grain backlog happen?

"We had gone through prior to 2017, we had six quarters or 18 months of a reduction in volumes, and we entered 2017 with a forecast of a volume increase of about 3 per cent. Very quickly within the first couple months of 2017, we realized we had an increase in volumes of certain commodities between 11 and 20 per cent. By the time we got to the point we realized it was sustainable, it was September, and we said we're short crews, we're short locomotives, and there are pinch points in our network that impacts capacity."

He says, to train a conductor takes eight months, and new locomotives take about a year to build.

Finn says, they leased 130 high power locomotives to move grain last fall, by they still fell behind in the winter months.

Some farmers have made the comment that grain backlogs always seem to come when there's something more profitable to ship, but Finn says that's not the case.

"We don't make that trade-off. What we look at is how do we move the system to keep it very fluid. Secondly, we have commitments to ourselves to move a certain amount of grain per week, so we don't look at the profitability of grain versus other business. Crude is often viewed as being a problem for us moving grain."

He says, crude oil is only one per cent of CN Rail's overall volume, so it's not a large portion of their business.

In the immediate term, Finn says, the company will hire 1000 employees.

"We're going to hire probably another 800 employees between now and the end of June, so that will help us long term. Secondly, when it comes to locomotives they will be coming on, so we will make sure those are kept in a position to serve our customers, and we will invest $250 million more capital in the Winnipeg to Edmonton corridor to make sure we have for example, a double track coming into the yard in Edmonton."

He says CN Rail will make sure they have excess locomotives for the next grain season, and also more employees available to help with more difficult winters or a large grain crop.

Finn says grain car order fulfillment is currently around 70 per cent.

More Ag News

Low populations of wheat midge and grasshoppers forecast

Farmers gathered in Kindersley yesterday for the West Central Ag Outlook. Regional Crop Specialist John Ippolito talked to producers about the Insect and Disease forecast for 2018: "If we look at the…

FarmLead and APAS setting up charitable partnership

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan's [APAS] Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program is getting a bit of a boost. FarmLead is an online grain marketplace that allows buyers and…

India Issues 30 Per Cent Import Duty on Chickpeas and Lentils

There's more bad news for Canada's pulse industry. India has decided to impose a 30 per cent import duty on chickpeas and lentils, effectively immediately. The Indian government says "production of…

Tax changes and trade key issues in 2017 for Federal Ag Minister

2017 had many key issues and highlights for Federal Ag Minister, Lawerence MacAulay. MacAulay said that a key issue for farmers in 2017 was the Federal Governments proposed Small Business Tax…

Bad news for Saskatchewan pulse growers

It's not the news pulse producers wanted to hear this Christmas as it's another hit for Canadian Pulses, especially for producers here in Saskatchewan. India has now imposed a 30% duty on lentils and…

Provincial Ag Minister reflects on the big issues for the province in 2017

Provincial Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said 2017 was plagued with one issue after another in the province. He says the weather was a key issue for the Ag sector in the province this year. He…

A review of the Business Risk Management programs set to begin in 2018

A review of the Business Risk Management programs is set to begin next year. Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has set up an 11 member external review panel that consists of academics,…

Barlow Reflects on Biggest Ag Challenges in 2017

When reflecting on 2017, Foothills M.P., John Barlow, says having Canada's Trade Agreements at risk has been a challenge. The Associate Ag Critic says, in his mind, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is…

CN and CP rail exceed their maximum grain revenue entitlements

The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that revenues for CN and CP Rail have exceeded their Maximum Grain Revenue Entitlements for the 2016-17 Crop Year. CN was over $5 million 700 thousand…

2017 another busy year for the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association

2017 was another busy year for the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. Ryan Beierbach is Chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and says they met with Federal and Provincial Government…

DiscoverMooseJaw.com is Moose Jaw's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

2018 SSFA 55+ Games Volunteers Needed

31 January 2018 12:00 am - 12 July 2018 6:00 am

TBA





Anavets Flower Fundraiser

07 March 2018 7:00 pm - 23 May 2018 7:00 pm

Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans, Moose Jaw





Beginners class of scottish country dancing

14 April 2018 3:00 pm - 28 April 2018 5:00 pm

Chateau St. Michael's, Moose Jaw





Ronald McDonald House fundraiser

22 April 2018 12:00 am - 30 April 2018 12:00 pm

Fraternal Order of Eagles #3395, Moose Jaw





Atamiskākēwak Gathering 2018

23 April 2018 12:00 am - 28 April 2018 6:00 am

Across the City, Moose Jaw





Used Book & Jigsaw Puzzle Sale

23 April 2018 8:00 am - 27 April 2018 6:00 pm

Dr F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital lobby





Legion Foot Care Clinic

26 April 2018 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 59 Moose Jaw, Moose Jaw





Login