GFM Network News


Anti-pipeline blockades — like this one in Edmonton in mid-February — are only part of the reason
why grain is backed up. But the situation will take months to fully be resolved.

Grain is moving but it will take months to catch up

Canada’s reputation as a reliable grain supplier has taken a hit

There won’t be a quick fix for a ‘perfect storm’ that has set grain movement back by at least three months. The problems started with the late harvest across the Prairies followed by the week-long CN Rail strike in November and then cold weather and mudslides. By the time the anti-pipeline rail blockades hit in […] Read more

A ghostly view of ships anchored in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on March 2. These are just a small fraction of the dozens of freighter and container ships anchored in the Gulf Islands and along the coast of Vancouver Island — all waiting for the backlog at the Port of Vancouver to be cleared.

Rail delays have everyone ‘ripping their hair out’

Every West Coast anchorage spot is filled as ships wait for rail traffic to get back to normal

It was a cold and rainy day — a gloomy but an apt setting for producers and grain industry officials touring the Port of Vancouver and witnessing the backlog of ships anchored in Burrard Inlet. The ships were barely visible in the fog for tour attendees, delegates to the Canadian Crops Convention held here earlier […] Read more


‘Perfect storm’ hits grain movement

The blockade of CN rail lines by Indigenous-rights protesters has contributed to “a perfect storm” affecting grain movement this winter, say Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley. “An eight-day CN rail strike in late November, followed by a 10-day cold spell in January and heavy rains impacting rail movement and the loading of grain vessels at […] 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

Farmers dump bags of corn grain in front of the Papineau riding office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal, as they protest the lack of propane due to the CN strike, on Nov. 25, 2019.

Make rail transport an essential service, say crop commissions

Wheat and barley commissions say crop sector can’t afford to have strikes ‘every few years’

The longest rail strike in a decade is over, but the need for a new way to deal with rail disruptions is as pressing as ever, say Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley. “The threat of strikes affecting grain movement is a recurring theme every few years and we need a long-term solution to ensure Canada […] Read more


You expect to see grain elevators along a rail line but what are those white things? They’re windmill components which have been offloaded at Forty Mile Rail’s Foremost yard while awaiting assembly. This year will be upgraded as part of $9 million in planned infrastructure improvements.

Southern Alberta short line is hauling in jobs and economic activity

Forty Mile Rail purchased a long-abandoned rail line in 2016 and got the trains moving again

A group in southern Alberta has taken back a section of a short line rail, and area communities are enjoying the dividends. “We started Forty Mile Rail back in 2016,” said Lorne Buis, a director of the 75-kilometre-long rail line that runs from Stirling to Foremost. Last month, the group received $4.2 million of federal […] Read more

Big is better — and faster is better yet — at Paterson Grain’s Foothills Terminal at Bowden. The facility recently loaded the single largest grain train ever seen in Alberta. The train had 147 new high-capacity hopper cars while the Bowden terminal is one of a growing number of facilities with new loop-track/power-on setups.

One mighty big grain train rolls out of Alberta

With nearly 15,000 tonnes of grain on board, this train was like nothing seen before

In the years ahead, you may find yourself stuck at a rail crossing a little longer as a grain train rumbles by. And you might want to use that extra time to say thanks for modern technology. Paterson Grain recently set a new record when it loaded 147 new high-capacity hopper cars with a whopping […] 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