Canadian Pacific moved more grain in past year despite extreme weather, backlog

​Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. moved one per cent more grain over the past year than in 2016-17, despite a frigid prairie winter and higher-than-expected crop yields that helped cause a major backlog in early 2018.

CP Rail shipped 25.8 million metric tonnes of grain, grain products and soybeans out of Western Canada during the 2017-18 crop year.

For the coming year, the Calgary-based railway forecasts the total crop to move will hit 83.4 million metric tonnes, five per cent higher than the five-year average.

CP Rail and rival Canadian National Railway Co. are outfitting their fleets with thousands of larger freight cars and track upgrades over the next four years.

The improvements come amid legislation that imposes financial penalties on railways that fail to deliver promised rail cars for grain shipments on time.

The extremely low temperatures in Western Canada last winter meant trains had to be shorter, a necessity related to their air-brake systems.

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