Western Canadian grain movements totaled 2.8 million metric tonnes (mt) of grain and processed grain products in October, beating a previous record of 2.7 million mt in April 2019.
The record comes as cold and wet weather at the start of the 2019-2020 harvest season curtailed grain shipments for both Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP). The adverse weather conditions “negatively affected the pace of grain deliveries, leaving rail capacity significantly under-utilized,” CN said. Nonetheless, CN has moved over 6.7 million mt since the start of the Canadian harvest season Aug. 1.
Both CN and CP have increased western grain shipments significantly in recent years amid millions in capital investments to support grain movements and western Canadian rail infrastructure.
CN has said previously that the C$7.4 billion in overall capital investments in recent years have enabled the railway to move over 7,000 hopper cars of grain per week for seven individual weeks throughout the crop year, as well as move approximately 1 million mt of grain in containers.
“We are all part of the same supply chain, and as a railway CN fully understands the impacts that weather can have on the end-to-end supply chain,” said Allen Foster, vice president of Bulk at CN. “Investment at every step of the supply chain — from producers and grain companies to CN’s investment in new hopper cars, increased network capacity, and a more modern locomotive fleet — all played a role in delivering a record month.”