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CP to focus on transporting Canadian grain to market in upcoming year

Published by , Assistant Editor
Dry Bulk,

On 12 September, during a roundtable session with the federal Ministers of Agriculture and Transport, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) announced that for the upcoming year its focus is to move the Canadian grain crop to market, in close collaboration with its customers and the broader supply chain.

On the day of the meeting, CP's Vice-President Sales and Marketing – Grain and Fertilizer, Joan Hardy, said: "Today was a great opportunity to sit down with Minister MacAulay and Minister Garneau to highlight our plans for this upcoming crop year and show how we are dedicated to grain."

"Through strategic investments, ongoing collaboration and communication, and significant planning, we have built the foundation for continued success in grain." 

According to CP, the roundtable, held in Saskatoon, was an opportunity for the two federal ministers to hear directly from companies and stakeholders across the grain supply chain. 

CP reportedly transported 25.8 million t of western Canadian grain and grain products, soybeans and other non-regulated principal field crops during the 2017 - 2018 crop year, up 1% over the 2016 - 2017 crop-year and 1 % above its three-year average. 

In its July 2018 letter to Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, CP published a detailed plan to move this year's crop. Based on current forecasts, CP's operating team has a target of spotting approximately 5500 hopper cars for Canadian grain weekly through the fall, until the closure of the Port of Thunder Bay on the St. Lawrence Seaway. This target is the outcome of an efficient and effective supply chain and is based on continued communication and collaboration. When the seaway closes, CP plans to target approximately 4000 cars per week, based on the same factors. CP sizes its operating plan carefully to match supply-chain capacity, and the plan assumes the supply chain will run at or near capacity throughout the season. 

CP continues to invest in resources to accommodate growing demand across its network. CP currently has more than 700 employees in training and by the end of summer will have added more than 100 remanufactured locomotives to its fleet. CP plans to spend more than CAN$1.55 billion in capital investments in 2018, replacing depleted track assets and upgrading its network. 

CP is undertaking a number of innovative steps, in collaboration with customers and stakeholders, to further improve the efficiency and capacity of the grain supply chain. CP is investing half a billion dollars in 5900 new high-capacity grain hoppers to replace the aging low-capacity Government of Canada fleet. The company is also continuing to develop its 8500 ft train model in collaboration with customers that operate elevators and destination terminals handling the trains. These trains will be able to haul up to 20% more grain per train than the current 7000 ft model, and up to 44% more grain per train when combined with new high-capacity hoppers. 

These innovations build on CP's popular Dedicated Train Programme (DTP), which allows customers to lock-in dedicated unit trains to serve their facilities for the entire crop year. 

CP also reiterated its call for all participants in the supply chain to operate 24/7 through the busy fall period, and to maintain open lines of communication with one another.

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