CN published its 2022-2023 Grain Plan, which describes CN’s preparations for moving a western Canadian grain crop that is expected to rebound from last year’s drought.
The Plan sets out the specific steps that CN is taking to ensure it can meet the forecast demand from the grain sector in the new crop year. For example, the Plan provides details on workforce recruitment, adding 57 new high horsepower locomotives and new rolling stock, all to support the delivery of grain and other commodities. Faced with growing demands from all sectors, the Plan also calls for greater balance across all rail corridors to reach the upper end of the maximum sustainable supply chain capacity range. That requires making better use of the eastern Canadian network, including Thunder Bay when the St. Lawrence Seaway System is open to navigation, and direct rail shipments to St. Lawrence River ports when the Seaway closes for winter.
CN continues to add new high-capacity grain hopper cars to its fleet as part of ongoing capacity expansion. In 2022, CN is adding 500 new covered hopper cars, and will bring on an additional 500 in early 2023. Through the remainder of 2023 and 2024, the Company will take delivery of another 750 covered hoppers. The new cars can carry up to 15% more grain than less efficient legacy cars. CN will be increasing its active operating crew base in Western Canada and plans to hire over 500 new additional employees.
CN’s annual Grain Plan is prepared through an extensive consultation process and input from key stakeholders. The plan reviews CN’s performance during the last crop year, assesses CN’s ability to move anticipated levels of grain during the upcoming crop year. It also explains specific steps CN is taking to ensure it has the capacity to move grain safely and efficiently on behalf of farmers, customers, and supply chain partners, and to respond to the known and unknown challenges that North American winters bring.