Canadian Pacific reports that it has broken all-time records for grain shipments, moving 2.64 million metric tonnes (MMT) of Canadian grain and grain products in October, the railroad’s biggest month ever for this commodity. The previous record was set in September 2017. CP also set a new record for biofuel shipments.
Through 14 weeks of the 2018-19 crop year, CP shipped more than 7.5 MMT of grain and grain products, and since harvest began in September has averaged more than 5,500 empty railcars to Canadian elevators each week. The supply chain, CP said, “has been able to overcome challenging conditions across the prairies, including an early blast of winter weather in October that caused significant harvest delays and resulted in some grain pipeline congestion. CP reiterates the need for 24/7 operations throughout the entire supply chain to prevent further congestion.”
CP said it “continues to meet its Dedicated Train Program (DTP) commitments, and is getting positive feedback from its customers. Under the DTP, customers are incentivized to load and unload more quickly, driving increased overall grain movements and benefitting the economy. Customers are investing in the future by upgrading elevator infrastructure with 8,500-foot-train-capable loop track that results in efficiency gains for grain shippers and CP.”
CP (and CN as well) are investing in new high-capacity covered hopper cars from National Steel Car, Hamilton, Ont., with 500 being delivered by the end of this year. These new cars have a higher payload capacity but are shorter than their aging predecessors, allowing for faster loading and unloading as well as increased unit train length. CP has plans to order up to 6,000 of these cars; NSC will build the first 1,000 units.
“This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our operating team and the power of our operating model,” said CP Vice President Sales and Marketing – Grain and Fertilizer Joan Hardy. “This requires laser-sharp focus on the supply chain details, and close collaboration with customers, elevators and ports. Together, through hard work and open communication, the system has been operating with maximum velocity and fluidity.”
“Viterra has received steady and reliable service from CP this fall, resulting in a more fluid and efficient supply chain,” said Viterra North America President and CEO Kyle Jeworski. “This is what we expect from an important service provider like CP, and by working closely together, we can continue driving excellence in our supply chain and ensure that we are well positioned to meet current and future industry demands.”
In preparation for winter, CP said it is “actively deploying resources and assets and is in the final stages of adding employees and locomotives to meet the needs of our customers across North America. This includes additional remanufactured locomotives and hundreds of new operations employees making their way through our training process. Read CP’s White Paper: Railroading in the Canadian Winter for more information on everything we do for safe winter operations. CP’s Customer Safety Handbook gives clear direction on safe rail operations to ensure CP employees can safely access customer sites in winter.”