Shipping Grain East to Thunder Bay
THUNDER BAY – Transportation – The Port of Thunder Bay can expect to start seeing more grain cars arriving in the city. CP Rail is expected to start bringing in more grain trains from Manitoba. A backlog of grain across the western prairie provinces following the bumper crop in 2013, has elevators in Manitoba completely full.
There are actually piles of grain stacked up on the ground with Manitoba farmers unable to get their crop to market.
Hunter Harrison, the head of CP Rail is now stating that the company is open to moving grain to grain terminals in Thunder Bay. The goal is to ease pressure on Manitoba grain elevators.
The pressure on CP Rail comes from Manitoba’s Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton. “To have the CEO of CP undertake to personally get involved to look at shipping grain through Thunder Bay, I think, is a huge step forward,” said Ashton.
The issue for Manitoba farmers is that in a normal year, they are able to ship half of their harvest east. Farmers in the easterly most prairie province have been hard hit this year by the bottleneck in grain shipping.
Grain elevators in Manitoba are 112 per cent full. There are tonnes of grain sitting on the ground outside of many elevators. Alberta and Saskatchewan elevators are on average 86 per cent and 89 per cent full respectively.
The federal government it would order the railways to move a minimum amount of grain each week. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said “For the past several months, the bumper crop of grain produced in Canada has not been moving fast enough to Canadian ports. This issue affects more than just our farmers – it affects trade and Canada’s ability to supply our markets around the world. We are taking this action to more than double grain shipments in order to preserve the integrity of Canada’s transportation system and our reputation as a global supplier.”