Thursday, September 18, 2014

CN to be fined for failing to haul enough grain

The federal government is going to fine CN Rail for failing to haul enough grain, but it hasn’t said how much the fine will be.

Transport Minister Lisa Riatt said the amount will be calculated based on how far short CN fell from its minimum transportation requirements and for how many weeks.

A dispute has arisen how about why CN continued to fall short of targets during recent weeks.

The railway blames grain farmers and elevator companies for not having enough grain in place to fill the 5,000 railcars a week it’s required to have in place.

The grain companies say they have grain and are still short 25,000 railcars and CN’s share of that shortfall is 30 per cent.

The government passed the Fair Rail Act in the winter when farmers were frustrated because they couldn’t get a bumper 79-million-tonne harvest to market.

Since then grain prices have declined, especially for any grain that competes with corn for livestock and poultry feed rations. Corn is down to less than half the price a year ago; top-quallity bread-making wheat is down by about 15 per cent.

The railways blame cold and snow for forcing them to slow down and to haul shorter trains.

There were similar rail-capacity issues for grain across the Midwestern United States.