GFM Network News


Grain movement has been phenomenal since spring, but the coming winter will test the capabilities of both railways.

Will the gusher of grain movement continue?

Shipping records have shattered but the big test comes when the snow flies

The grain transportation system has been ‘pounding it,’ with monthly records falling like flies through spring, summer and even into harvest. So will it continue? That will depend on sales and demand from other sectors that ship by rail, say experts. “We’ve done very well in the aftermath of everything that’s happened in the last […] Read more

Railways say they’re more prepared than ever

Increased capital spending and better technology will improve performance, CN and CP both say

When the federal government passed the Transportation Modernization Act in 2018, the headline news was the requirement for railways to negotiate level-of-service agreements with grain companies — and face penalties for poor service. But the act also requires the railways to produce ‘winter plans’ to show how they’ll keep grain moving when the weather turns […] Read more


CN and CP Rail moved a record 54.3 million tonnes of grain in the last crop year. Better performance has been accompanied by a willingness to listen to farm groups and grain companies, and that has made a significant difference, say two Alberta farm leaders.

Working on the railroad — and getting grain moving

Things aren’t perfect but railways and farm groups are slowly rebuilding trust after years of conflict

They’re not besties yet — but the relationship between farm groups and the railways has undergone a sea change over the last few years. After years of vociferous complaints about poor rail service, the federal government cracked the whip in 2014, ordering CP and CN Rail to move one million tonnes of grain weekly or […] Read more

Crop year ends with grain export record

Both major railways have announced record grain shipments, and with a more than a week left in the crop year, total Canadian grain exports had already topped last year’s record. The Canadian Grain Commission reports that as of July 21, with 10 days left in the 2018-19 crop year, total exports of Canadian grain had […] Read more


Both railways are ordering new locomotives, but they will take several months for delivery.

Railway pace ahead of last year

Both major rail companies were on track for good performance coming into 2019, but poor weather has derailed their progress

Grain shipments by rail are leaps and bounds ahead of last year — but there’s still a long way to go. “I think both railways have really stepped up the volume, but we haven’t been without our issues,” said Mark Hemmes, president of Quorum Corporation, the agency tasked with monitoring grain movement by rail. “If […] Read more

Nearly half of all railway-related deaths and injuries result from accidents at crossings.

Upgrades slated for a host of crossings

Seventeen rail crossings will see upgrades in the coming year in locations across the province

The federal government is spending $3.3 million to improve rail safety at 18 locations in Alberta. The funds will be used on three types of projects: Install flashing lights, bells, and gates at crossings. Install advanced train detection and crossing control system. build fencing and other barriers to discourage trespassing on railway properties. Almost half […] Read more


Grain is loading slowing down at port terminals, such as at Cargill’s newly expanded Northern Vancouver facility.

Farmers call for action on grain transportation

Thousands of rail cars haven’t been delivered in what has been the worst performance since the crisis of 2013-14

Farm groups are redoubling their efforts to get the federal Liberals to move Canadian grain — but their pleas appear to be falling on deaf ears. Olds-area farmer Jeff Nielsen travelled with other farm leaders to Ottawa at the start of the month in a bid to get the government to crack a whip and […] Read more

Farmers once again railing against slow grain movement

Slow grain movement this winter is bringing back bad memories for many

Despite recent improvements to rail transportation in Canada, farmers are still forced to rely on a largely unreliable system. “Rail is the backbone of the economy, but it’s also the Achilles heel,” said Mark Hemmes, president of Quorum Corporation. The 2016-17 crop year was one for the books. Despite a slow start, the system set […] Read more


Latest rail bill highlights the need for change, says farm leader

The $1.3-billion tab for moving last year’s crop shows 
‘there will never be an open market,’ says Alberta Wheat chair

The final tally is in and Prairie farmers spent more than $1.3 billion on rail transportation in the last crop year. The average bill was $33.69 a tonne for the 2013-14 crop year (a drop of 30 cents per tonne from the previous year) and the total cost was almost exactly what’s allowed under federal […] Read more

Once Ottawa threatened the railways with fines, grain cars started showing up at elevators.

PR fumbles and effective lobbying = grain-movement order

Five to Remember: While the railways were defending their performance, farmers were successfully urging Ottawa to crack the whip

The year dawned with CN and CP Rail insisting they were doing an excellent job moving grain, and weren’t to blame for plugged elevators and empty freighters anchored on the West Coast. It proved to be a spectacularly ineffective bit of PR. Everyone knew moving the all-time-record harvest of 2013 would be a challenge, and […] Read more