Video

Bumper crop grain shipments hauled to Thunder Bay by truck

Expect a number of transports hauling grain to rumble along highways between the prairies and Thunder Bay this spring.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt tells Liberal MP David McGuinty a bumper crop, a cold winter and limited rail capacity is to blame for stalled grain shipments. 4:29

Expect a number of transports hauling grain to rumble along highways between the prairies and Thunder Bay this spring.

For months now prairie farmers have not been able to get last year's bumper crop of grain moved to market because there have not been enough railway cars to transport it.

Tractor-trailers are now being used to bring a record wheat crop from western Canada to elevators at the Thunder Bay Port.

Port CEO Tim Heney said about 10 trucks are arriving every day. In the past, Heney said the port might receive 10 transports a year.

"I think they're doing it mostly to help out the farmers in Manitoba, because the rail service has been pretty much non-existent up to this point,” he said.

On Friday, the Ministers of Transport and Agriculture announced their fix to the problem. The government will sign an order-in-council, forcing the railways to move at least half a million metric tonnes each week. If they don't, they could face fines of up to $100,000 a day.

The railways have four weeks to ramp up to the required level.

Heney said Thunder Bay’s port has only a quarter-million tonnes of grain on hand. The port's capacity is about 1.2 million tonnes of grain.

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