Canadian Pacific’s President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel provided his comments on Bill C-30 to the Standing Committee on Agriculture. Mr. Creel encouraged the Committee to consider the serious capacity constraints within the current grain supply chain and highlighted that interswitching would worsen the situation for the movement of Canadian grain to markets.
“The reality is the current grain supply chain, of which rail is only one component, cannot move these extraordinary volumes over this short period of time,” said Creel. “We need solutions that will increase throughput of grain from farm to ship.”
Mr. Creel also addressed CP’s operating performance this crop year. CP moved record grain volumes last Fall which was later impacted by the extraordinary cold temperatures in December and January. With the improved weather, the railway has regained momentum, moving 15 per cent more Western Canadian grain in February and 20 per cent more in March than the previous year.
With respect to the proposed extended interswitching, Mr. Creel expressed concerns with its potentially damaging unintended consequences and how it would slow down the grain supply chain due to increased handlings, further constraining capacity. He noted that allowing grain to be interswitched to U.S railroads could also potentially lead to a negative impact on the Canadian economy. “I am proud of the railroaders who continue to work tirelessly 24-7 to move this record Canadian crop for the farming community,” added Creel. “Despite this fact, our efforts need to be matched by other partners in the supply chain. We should not allow railcars to sit, waiting to be loaded or unloaded, when they should be cycling back to the Prairies or to the Ports.”
CP is asking all supply chain partners to engage in a collaborative dialogue to find immediate solutions which will create longer term capacity in the grain supply chain.