GFM Network News


New rail speed limits to be based on temperatures

Railways wanting to run under new limits must develop winter operation plans

Given the odds of weird temperature swings happening somewhere in Canada at any time of year, railways will now instead be required to slow their trains’ speeds based on how cold it is outside at the time, rather than a date range. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Friday announced a new ministerial order meant […] Read more

G3’s newly opened terminal in North Vancouver — which can load up to 6,500 tonnes an hour — is the latest improvement to a shipping network that has been moving unprecedented amounts of grain during the pandemic.

Railways ‘blowing the doors off’ with grain movement

It could be a record year for movement but bottlenecks remain despite heavy investment

Grain is flying off the Prairies now that it’s not competing with other sectors for space on the rail network. “We’ve always said that the terminals, the grain companies, and the processors feel that they can move more,” said Steve Pratte, manager of policy development at the Canadian Canola Growers Association. “This year, we’ve had […] Read more


Grain exports continue strong out of Thunder Bay

COVID-19 leads to increased demand, reduced oil traffic by rail

MarketsFarm — The Port of Thunder Bay reported another strong grain handling month in May, as more than 1.1 million tonnes of Canadian grain and oilseeds moved through the harbour on the northern shores of Lake Superior during the month. Increased demand from many countries stockpiling grain amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic was cited as […] Read more

Fuel, labour to pull grain freight cost indices lower

CP's share buybacks also a factor in its VRCPI

The numbers that decide how much revenue Canada’s big two railways get to keep from Prairie grain handling have been marked downward for the 2020-21 crop year. The Canadian Transportation Agency last week announced it will set the volume-related composite price index (VRCPI) at 1.4202 for Canadian National Railway (CN) and at 1.4205 for Canadian […] Read more


Ottawa expected to ‘officially’ declare ag an essential service

The Western Grain Elevator Association says that designation will clarify things and help to keep grain moving

Canada’s grain industry expects the federal government will soon officially declare agriculture an essential service. Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), says that designation will have a practical application. “Hopefully it ends all confusion about grain workers at elevators, railway workers and anybody else required for moving grain, as to […] 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

Garneau re-adjusts train speed limits

New limits in place for 'key trains' with dangerous goods

Having cut speed limits for trains hauling dangerous goods following a fiery derailment earlier this month, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is adjusting those limits for a “more targeted” approach. Garneau announced Sunday he has pulled his Feb. 6 ministerial order on speed limits and replaced it with a new one affecting so-called “key trains” […] Read more


Feds provide funding for rail crossing upgrades

Fifteen crossings will get upgrades such as lights, gates, and improved warning systems

The federal government has announced a new $16.5-million Rail Safety Improvement Program for 136 projects across the country, including 33 in Alberta. More than a third of the Alberta projects are for grade crossing closures (13 in Calgary and one at Mile 104.12 of the Maple Creek Subdivision). Fifteen others will see improvements such as adding flashing lights […] Read more

Prairie grain freight cost index adjusted upward

Corrected, May 6, 2019 — Canada’s big two railways can expect a small raise in the amount of revenue they get to keep from hauling Prairie grain in the coming crop year. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) on Tuesday announced it will set the volume-related composite price index (VRCPI) at 1.4371 for Canadian National Railway […] Read more