CN has announced that it moved 2.95 million t of western Canadian grain in March 2021, exceeding the previous record of 2.74 million t set in 2020 and 19% ahead of the three-year average of 2.47 million t.
During the first quarter of 2021, and despite the extreme temperatures experienced over large parts of CN’s network in February, CN moved 8.2 million t of Canadian grain, exceeding the previous first quarter record of 7.0 million t established in 2017 and over 25% higher than the three-year average of 6.5 million t. So far, during the 2020 - 2021 crop year, CN has moved 22.7 million t of Canadian grain. This is an increase of 19% compared to the previous year to-date record of 19.1 million t established in the 2018 - 2019 crop year.
Containerised grain shipments direct from western Canada are also on record pace, approaching 800 000 t crop year to-date, in addition to the tonnage shipped from eastern Canada.
“Since the beginning of 2021, Canadian grain farmers, along with all of our supply chain partners, have worked closely with CN's railroaders to deliver record grain performance despite the pandemic and the very difficult operating conditions we faced in February. We are proud of these record results as we also respond to record demand for the movement of other commodities, such as potash, overseas and domestic intermodal, forest products, and propane. I want to personally thank CN railroaders and our agri-food supply chain partners for successfully delivering another record month of grain movement while keeping pace with higher than previous year’s overall traffic levels on CN's network” said James Cairns, Senior Vice President, rail centric supply chain at CN.
CN's continued ability to deliver record volumes is largely due to investments made by the railway over the past few years. Since 2018, CN has invested over CAN$10 billion in track, safety enhancing technologies, locomotives, and railcars, including the purchase of over 2500 new high capacity grain hopper cars.