The premier of Saskatchewan is adding his voice to the chorus of people concerned about getting grain to market.
Premier Brad Wall said when he was in Asia a few months ago, a flour mill in the Philippines raised the issue. The company told Wall that during busy months it doesn't even bother trying to order wheat from Canada.
"Even if it's a unique, sort of anecdotal case when one person, one company says, 'We don't want to do business with Canada, not because we don't like the product, but because we worry about your ability to get it to us on time'," said Wall. "We ought to be in the reliability business as well as the quality business."
Wall sent a letter to the premiers of British Columbia and Alberta to discuss this issue when they meet in March. He said the agriculture minister is also talking to rail companies about what can be done.
Rail companies "have to step up their game," Ritz says
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said things have to change when it comes to getting wheat from the bin to the rail car.
One market analyst has drawn up a petition asking for more transparency from railways.
Ritz said rail companies need to make improvements when it comes to capacity.
"That means logistic change," Ritz said. "Change is also going to have to happen, and find efficiencies, throughout the supply chain, not just the railways but of course when they're the weak link at this point that's where everybody's going to point their fingers."
The rail companies tell CBC they are moving more hopper cars than ever.
"I'm not going to tell the railway how to run their business, but I will tell them that they are going to have to step up their game when it comes to capacity and the number of cars on the tracks," Ritz said. "This is the new norm of what's going to be expected of Canadian producers to feed a growing, hungry world."