CN Says Year on Year Grain Movement Totals Are Up

As the year draws to a close we've started seeing an increase in grain movement.

David Przednowek, the assistant vice president of grain for CN Rail, says for the last number of weeks grain movement has been slow.

"So a lot of capacity got left on the table, unfortunately. What we've seen since then is a bit of an uptick in demand for grain movement over the past couple of weeks grain shipping week 19 which was the week of December 3rd, we moved just over 570,000 tonnes that compared to 500,000 tonnes the previous week."

He notes year to date grain movement numbers are up over last year.

"Last year through grain shipping week 19, 25.4 million tons of grain had moved to primary elevators into processors like canola crush plants, malt plants, etc. That compares to 23.2 million tonnes here through Week 19 this year. That's on of course a smaller crop. We've got a 67 million tonne crop based on what Stats Canada told us the first week of December for western Canadian grain production, and that compares to about 75 million tonnes last year."

He adds with the holiday season they expect to see a decline in demand between Christmas and New Year, as well as a decline in demand into Thunder Bay as things start to slow down as we get into the close of navigation for the Great Lakes/St Lawrence system.

CN Rail signed a deal earlier this month to purchase Iowa Northern Railway.

The Iowa Northern operates 275 miles of track that connects to CN's U.S. rail network.

Przednowek says they are very excited about the transaction, the Iowa Northern is a great rail property with a very heavy agricultural focus.

"That'll be of interest to folks up north here in the prairies. Iowa being heavy, heavy corn-soybean production. You've got bulk grain shipment processing facilities on that line."

The deal has closed into a voting trust and must still be approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board which is expected to occur sometime in 2024.

By Glenda-Lee Vossler