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Ottawa extends grain order

Minimum amounts 
will vary throughout 
the winter

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Ottawa’s new order-in-council extends the mandatory minimum weekly grain handle until March 28.

But instead of a flat 536,250 tonnes of grain per week for both CN and CP Rail, the amounts vary.

Until, Dec. 20, each railway must move 345,000 tonnes per week. That drops to 200,000 tonnes weekly from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3, rises to 325,000 tonnes weekly from Jan. 4 to Feb. 21; rises again to 345,000 tonnes from Feb. 22 to March 21; and tops out at 465,000 tonnes for the week of March 22 to 28.

The maximum fine is “$100,000 per violation” and the railways must report on demand and volume, and also submit formal winter contingency plans, including service plans for producer car loaders and shortline railways, for the remaining crop year.

Both railways, the government said, are also expected to provide information on car order fulfillment by corridor, including the placement of rail cars at producer car loading sites and along shortline railways in order to “expand transparency in the logistics system.”

“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,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release.

CN replied the order was unnecessary as the supply chain is now “fully in sync” with movement of grain and that grain stocks are “now drawn down in line with normal levels.”

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