Canadian farmers move record amounts of grain on CN network

In a year end grain report published today, CN reported that 21.8 million metric tonnes of grain was moved during the 2016-17 growing year, making it a record for the transportation company.

“Through innovation, collaboration and improved communication with our supply chain partners, CN moved more grain in a single crop year than ever before,” explains Doug MacDonald, CN vice president of bulk. “We did this by further developing our supply chain ingenuity with our partners to meet demand, resulting in improvements in the use of equipment and better than ever efficiencies in size of trains.”

The report highlighted some key factors to the successful crop year, some of which included:

  • shipping seven per cent more tonnage than the prior three-year-average;
  • beating the one-year record set in 2014-15 by two per cent; six new monthly shipping records between the peak months of September and March when grain prices are highest;
  • introduction of 200-car grain trains to improve efficiency and turn equipment back to the prairies faster and;
  • expanded use of distributed power and air repeater cars to extend train length and improve train braking during extreme weather winter months.

It was noted that during last year’s growing year, customers secured approximately 70 per cent of CN’s car supply in advance under commercial agreements subject to car commitment guarantees.

Grain companies are continuing to invest in the supply chain as the construction begins of nine new country elevators and another seven announced with completion dates in the next 18 months.

For more information and to download the full year-end grain report visit

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture