Canada’s two Class I railroads set records for grain moves in October, each reporting more than 3 million metric tons (MMT) shipped.
CN on Nov. 2 reported that October was the “single-best month ever for Western Canadian grain movement” on its network. It moved more than 3.23 MMT, exceeding the previous record set in October 2020 by 50,000-plus metric tons and following an “all-time record” set for weekly movement earlier in the month (more than 806,000 metric tons during the week of Oct. 16, or week 12 of the 2022-23 crop year).
“Our performance is a testament to what can be accomplished through supply chain cooperation and collaboration,” CN Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Doug MacDonald said. “When the end-to-end supply chain runs well, we can move grain to ports and return railcars quickly to elevators to get more grain on the move. We would like to thank our supply chain partners for their part in this accomplishment and we look forward to continuing to work together.”
Canadian Pacific (CP) reported breaking its “all-time monthly tonnage record” for shipping grain and grain products in October. It shipped more than 3.14 MMT, surpassing the previous monthly record set in October 2020 by more than 100,000 metric tons.
Additionally, CP moved 757,406 metric tons of Canadian grain and grain products during the week of Oct. 16, or week 12 of the 2022-23 crop year. This was “the highest weekly total in two full years and the second-highest weekly tonnage CP has ever shipped,” according to the railroad.
Through the first 13 weeks of the 2022-23 crop year, CP hauled more than 6.9 MMT of grain and grain products, the Class I said.
“Transporting record volumes of grain would not be possible without the significant investment that has been made by our customers in new and upgraded grain-handling capacity and investment made by CP in infrastructure and high-capacity hopper cars,” said Joan Hardy, Vice President Sales and Marketing Grain and Fertilizers at CP. “CP’s 8,500-foot High Efficiency Product (HEP) model is adding much-needed capacity to allow more grain to move than ever.”
CP said it will complete this year a $500 million investment to acquire 5,900 new high-capacity grain hopper cars; grain customers, it noted, can expect to see more than 7,300 new high-capacity hoppers, including leased hoppers, in active service by the end of 2022.
“The significant volumes of grain and grain products moving on our railway exceed the supply commitments outlined in our annual grain plan,” Hardy said. “It is critical that all supply chain participants, including customer loading facilities and terminal operators loading grain into vessels at ports, operate at full capacity to sustain this strong momentum. We saw that demonstrated in October, particularly with the unloading success of terminals on Vancouver’s South Shore.”
Both railroads this summer released their 2022-23 grain plans. Read: “CN ’22-’23 Grain Plan: ‘We Are Ready’” and “CP 2022-23 Grain Plan: ‘Deliver Outstanding Service.’”