CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association supports regulatory measures introduced by the federal government today that will further reduce the grain shipping backlog and lead to improved performance and accountability throughout the grain supply chain.
“The steps taken today will help reduce grain inventories ahead of this year’s harvest and bring about greater accountability throughout the grain handling and transportation system,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “No one wants a repeat of the grain shipping debacle that we saw last winter.”
The Wheat Growers are pleased to see the weekly grain shipping requirement for CN and CP will continue until the end of November, and be increased from one million tonnes per week to 1.07 million tonnes per week. This will help clear up most of the grain shipping backlog prior to delivery of this year’s harvest. The backlog in grain car orders now sits at approximately 27,000 rail cars, representing about 2.4 million tonnes of grain.
“Clearing up the backlog is key to seeing a return to competitive bids for our grain,” says Wood.
The Wheat Growers also support the introduction of new measures that will help ensure grain companies honour contract commitments to growers, including compensation to farmers if grain is not accepted within the delivery window specified in grain contracts.
The Wheat Growers also welcome the extension of the interswitching provisions to 160 km and provisions that will allow the federal government to collect more timely shipping information from the railways.
“On balance, the Wheat Growers see these measures as a good step forward,” says Wood. “There’s still plenty of work ahead of us but it’s a good start in achieving a world-class grain handling and transportation system.”
The Wheat Growers will be seeking further measures as part of the formal review of the Canada Transportation Act, which is now underway. Among the needed changes are the inclusion of penalty provisions in railway service agreements, an incentive-based revenue cap, and strengthened running rights provisions.
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.