Canadian Manufacturing

Sask. cabinet minister to meet with rail firms over grain backlog

Bill Boyd said grain handling firms have indicated it may be well into 2015 before backlog cleared

REGINA—Saskatchewan Economy Minister Bill Boyd says he’s not very optimistic that a grain backlog which has left a bumper crop in bins across the Prairies will be cleared soon.

Boyd says grain handling companies have indicated that it may be well into 2015 before the backlog is cleared.

He is leading a delegation of Saskatchewan cabinet ministers to a meeting with Canadian National Railway (CN) officials Feb. 20 in Montreal and he plans to meet with Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) the following day to talk about ways to get the grain moving.

The delegation has already met with several grain handling companies in Regina and Winnipeg.

Boyd says the grain handlers don’t want to test federal legislation that includes a provision for possible penalties on a railway and he’s not sure why.

The legislation allows a government arbitrator to decide if a signed service agreement between a shipping company and a railway has been violated, but most grain handlers don’t have such contracts.

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