CWB enters dispute with CN Rail
The Canadian Wheat Board has filed an application to intervene in a case launched against the Canadian National Railway Co. over the lowering of service of grain transportation from Western Canada.
The complaint was filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) on March 8 by Great Northern Grain (GNG), a grain terminal in Nampa, Alberta. The CWB filed its application on March 27.
The intervention states that railcar booking restrictions introduced by CN impair the CWB’s ability to market grain in an orderly fashion at a reasonable cost. This crop year, CN has restricted its advance bookings of railcars at tariff freight rates to 100-car units, which the CWB said discriminates against smaller and single-point shippers as only 22 percent of primary elevators have a car spot capable of loading 100 cars at a time.
Farmers’ wheat and barley marketed by the CWB makes up 60 percent to 70 percent of the volume in the Canadian grain handling system.
“Our issues center on flexibility, efficiency and cost control in the movement of Prairie farmers’ grain to Canadian ports,” said Greg Arason, CWB’s president and chief executive officer. “CN’s actions this crop year fail to recognize the diverse requirements of its highest-volume customers: the grain producers of Western Canada.
“The CWB successfully challenged the railways in a major case in 1997 and we intend to do it again now with CN Rail,” Arason said. “We believe GNG’s case has ramifications for farmers and the entire industry.”
According to the CWB, nine other grain-industry organizations, including several producer-owned grain terminals, are also seeking intervener status in the case. A determination is expected from the CTA before July 6. Submissions pertaining to the case must be received by April 8.