CN Publishes Grain Plan, Invests in 1,500 High-Capacity Grain Hoppers

Written by Andrew Corselli

CN plans to acquire 1,500 new-generation, high-capacity grain hopper cars with delivery starting in January 2021. The new railcars aim to “encourage the economic recovery through job creation in the North American manufacturing sector and help CN continue to meet the growing needs of grain farmers and grain customers,” the company said.

In addition, CN has filed and published its 2020-2021 Grain Plan, announcing that it set a new record by moving more than 30 million metric tonnes (MMT) of grain across Canada during the 2019-2020 crop year. CN also announced that it is prepared to move up to 7,600 bulk and processed hopper cars per week outside of winter, and up to 6,100 per week during winter in the upcoming crop year. During the 2019-2020 crop year, more than 28.2 MMT of grain moved from Western Canada, as well as more than 1.1 MMT moved through intermodal containers.

The annual Grain Plan is prepared through a consultation process and with the input of key stakeholders through an open invitation on CN’s website. The plan reviews CN’s performance during the prior crop year, assesses CN’s ability to move anticipated levels of grain during the upcoming crop year, and explains specific steps that CN is taking to ensure it has the necessary capacity to move grain safely and efficiently for the benefit of farmers, customers and supply chain partners.

The plan is available for download below:

“This investment, combined with our 2020 $2.9B capital investment program, will help us move more grain,” said JJ Ruest, President and CEO, CN. “We are confident in the future of the grain business and its key role in CN’s long-term growth. By investing in the construction of these new cars, we want to help quickly stimulate the North American economy by supporting manufacturing and agriculture related jobs.”

“CN’s Canadian grain movements continue to break records, month after month, and these new higher-capacity hopper cars will help perpetuate our growth in this key sector of the North American economy,” said James Cairns, SVP, Rail Centric Supply Chain, CN. “By purchasing new hopper cars for the second time in two years, we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to grain farmers, grain customers and the overall supply chain to expand our collective capacity through fleet renewal. Through this investment, we will be able to support and expand our movements of grain to international markets as demand continues to increase.”

“Although we achieved our best grain movement volumes in 2019–2020, we are far from complacent,” said Ruest. “As an essential transportation service to the economy, to our customers, supply chain partners, and to the communities we serve, we remain committed to continue making capacity-enhancing investments to our network and to upgrade our rolling stock, including the purchase of 1,500 additional railcars manufactured in North America in 2020-2021. With all those, we are on our way to reach continuously improved performances. These investments benefit our grain customers as well as all those from the other sectors we serve. CN recognizes that the Grain Plan has been a helpful initiative to increase supply chain performance and keep everyone focused on moving annual crops.”

“Over the last year, the CN Agricultural Advisory Council has been providing CN with insight and feedback from the Ag community,” said Alanna Koch, Chair of the CN Agricultural Advisory Council. “Our input has improved CN’s understanding of the issues that matter to farmers and has helped to contribute to better service. The challenges faced this year demonstrated how essential transportation is and how having a collaborative and resilient supply chain can keep goods moving.”

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