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Sep 12, 2018

Railway officials to focus on faster grain transport at Saskatoon meeting

grain by rail

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SASKATOON - Getting grain to port at a faster and more efficient clip will be the focus of a meeting in Saskatoon involving the federal government, farm leaders and executives from Canada's two biggest railways.

Officials from the grain and rail transportation sectors will be at Wednesday's roundtable discussion, hosted by federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Grain transportation was a critical issue for farmers last winter when producers said shipping delays and backlogs following what had been in many cases an excellent harvest were resulting in huge financial losses for them.

Canadian National (CNR.TO0 and Canadian Pacific (CP.TO) railways have previously announced plans for improved grain movement, but Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association director Daryl Fransoo says the time for talk is over and it's results that now count.

Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, says the railways have calculated that 4,000 grain cars a week will be enough to handle the demand, although he notes that farmers hope to see even bigger numbers.

The roundtable meeting coincides with this week's federal Liberal caucus meeting in Saskatoon.