National Newswatch

GGC plans close examination of grain transportation.


Ottawa –Grain Growers of Canada is taking a close look at whether Canada’s railways are fully capable of delivering this year’s harvest to international customers and it is asking farmers for ideas and issues to consider.

GGC has set up a Grain on Trains hotline along with a Grain on Trains podcast as part of its campaign to delve deeper into the Canadian grain shipping and handling system, educate the agriculture industry about how the delivery system works and highlight farmers’ experiences dealing with a system with limited capacity, says Erin Gowriluk, GGC’s Executive Director.

“While there may not be a lot of grain to move right now, there will be soon,” she said. “Not only is harvest time is payday for Canadian farmers, we have customers around the world waiting to receive their orders.

“We want to ensure that we maintain our reputation not only as a supplier of quality grain but as a reliable supplier who can consistently meet customer expectations. Our inability to do so can cost farmers dearly – more immediately in the form of unnecessary demurrage charges as vessels wait to collect grain or in lost markets when customers turn to other suppliers when Canada can’t deliver.” GGC wants to get all the players in the grain-handling system talking to each and identifying opportunities to address inefficiencies. “We know that every year, Canadian farmers produce more and more grain but few of us really understand where the grain goes when it leaves the terminal and how it gets to our end-use markets around the globe,” she says.

“This podcast is an opportunity for us to delve deeper into the complex system and hear from the voices that is often missing in the conversation around grain shipment in Canada – those of farmers.

“We just want to hear from farmers – what problems have you encountered with our current grain shipping and handling system in Canada? What frustrations do you have around grain movement, or outstanding questions about how it works?”

The first podcast will feature Mark Hemmes of Quorum Corp., Canada’s Grain Transportation Monitor. Future guests will be posted on the website so that callers can direct specific questions to the most suitable experts.

Farmers who call the line will be asked to leave a recording, which may be shared as part of the podcast. To participate in the hotline, text your message to 416-649-6488 or record your voice message at (toll-free) 1-888-870-3672. The podcasts will be available at

Alex Binkley is a freelance journalist and writes for domestic and international publications about agriculture, food and transportation issues. He’s also the author of two science fiction novels with more in the works.

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