CN shipped over 2.28 million metric tons (MMT) of Canadian grain and grain products in February, beating a previous record of 2.12 MMT set in February 2019 by over 7%.
Since the start of the 2020-2021 crop year on Aug. 1, 2020, CN has shipped over 19.7 MMT of grain, which the railway says is 24% higher than the three-year average of 15.9 MMT and 17% higher than the previous record of 16.9 MMT set in 2018-2019.
CN is also “breaking records” with over 700,000 metric tons of western grain moving via container, the railway said.
“We are proud of the accomplishments of our team of railroaders despite the fact that the first half of the month of February was characterized by a severe cold outbreak,” Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly said in a statement. “The resulting challenging operating conditions across a large part of our network did not prevent them from ensuring that our network was running safely and that we kept meeting our customers’ needs during this period.”
Indeed, data graphed by FreightWaves SONAR illustrates the volume gains for grain traffic in 2020-2021 not only for CN but also its competitor Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP), which has said it has experienced record grain volumes in recent months as well.
Canadian grain volume broke out from seasonal trends in October, remained elevated in early 2021
CN touted its more than $10 billion in spending on track, locomotives and railcars since 2018 to support the western grain export network. That investment included the purchase of over 2,500 high-capacity grain hopper cars, CN said.
“CN’s investments in air distribution cars and automated track inspection technology has contributed to greater safety and higher productivity this winter,” Reilly said. “The ongoing collaboration between CN, the ports, Canadian grain farmers, as well as all of our supply chain partners has been, without any doubt, the key to our success during this challenging month.“