Record-large Canadian grain and oilseed crops will put extra stress on the country’s grain-handling system in 2013-14, making collaboration along the supply chain essential to move the crop efficiently, said Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of CN Rail in a news release.
Total western Canadian crop production is now estimated at over 60 million tonnes, which has caused grain companies to raise their export forecasts, said CN. “The current grain crop is now forecast to be among the largest in history. This is very good news for all of us involved in the business,” said Mongeau.
The large crops will “clearly challenge the entire supply chain,” said Mongeau. As a result, “meeting this challenge successfully will require all supply chain partners to come together in order to maximize end-to-end throughput on a consistent basis. Prompt car loading in the Prairies, steady railway movements from the country to port, and efficient car unloading at port terminals will be critical to solid hopper car fleet velocity so that the cars can be brought back to the countryside to meet new orders in a timely way.”
Participants along the supply chain “will have to up their game to move the crop to market on time, and on spec,” added Mongeau. For their part, CN is focused on port terminal unloading performance on the waterfront, maintaining a fluid rail operation, and sizing its hopper car fleet capacity at the level required to help keep the supply chain synchronized.
A $100-million investment in increased rail capacity in the Edmonton-Winnipeg corridor this year will also help CN handle strong volumes of grain and other commodities over the fall and winter seasons, said Mongeau.
“True collaboration and information sharing along the entire supply chain will be the foundation for our joint success. CN is ready to play its role as a key supply chain enabler, helping Canadian farmers and our customers bring this record crop to world markets efficiently.”