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Harper Government to Further Address Grain Logistics System Challenges

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/03/14 -- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Following meetings today with representatives from the grain supply chain, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that the Government is taking further action on early recommendations presented by members of the Crop Logistics Working Group (CLWG) to improve the competitiveness of the supply chain.

Immediate actions include pursuing enhancements to the Grain Monitoring Program to improve the frequency of reporting and providing an ongoing forum for representatives across the industry to discuss improvement throughout the supply chain.

The proposed expanded range of metrics and reporting frequency would include:

--  Railway order fulfillment information:
    --  weekly car orders placed by all grain companies;
    --  weekly car orders accepted (operating plan) by railways;
    --  weekly car orders actually placed by railways; and
    --  weekly cancellations of orders.
--  Weekly loads on wheels by carrier.
--  The covered hopper car fleet size in grain service for both mainline
    carriers by class of service (bad orders, etc.) on a weekly basis.
--  Terminal Unload Performance by railway (weekly unloads by port, along
    with expanded detail on arrival, constructive placement dwell, and
    unloading time at terminals).
--  Western Canada railway grain traffic (volumes, loaded transit times,
    cycle times) to Eastern Canada, United States and Mexican destinations.
--  U.S. grain traffic to Western Canadian destinations.
--  Western Canadian grain traffic shipped to port in containers.

The Government has also taken a long term focus to address logistical challenges with a five year $1.5 million announcement to Pulse Canada on January 21 to lead a multi-sector collaboration project of the pulse, oilseeds and grains industries to improve supply chain efficiency and reliability.

The Minister thanked the CLWG for the early recommendations and said he looked forward to receiving the final report.

Quick facts

--  The government has taken steps to improve the performance of the entire
    rail supply chain in order to help farmers get their crops to market
    which include:
    --  investing $1.5 million in a Pulse Canada led multi-sector
        collaboration project of the pulse, oilseeds and grains industries
        to improve supply chain efficiency and reliability;
    --  passing the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, which creates a process
        to establish service agreements;
    --  establishing a Crop Logistics Working Group to find ways to improve
        the performance of the supply chain for all crops;
    --  investing $25 million to support grain shipments through the Port of
        Churchill;
    --  implementing marketing freedom for western Canadian wheat and barley
        growers;
    --  investing over $150 million in innovation through the grain research
        clusters;
    --  opening a market of half a billion consumers to our farmers across
        Canada once the Canada-European trade agreement is implemented;
    --  committed to releasing a Grain Supply Chain Study; and
    --  launching a Commodity Supply Chain Table.

Quote

"Canada's crop industry is a vital part of the Canadian economy and we will continue to work with all parts of the supply chain to get farmers' products to market. Current transportation challenges faced by producers present an opportunity for the entire value chain to improve efficiencies and position Canada's grain sector for future growth."

- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

Associated links

Crop Logistics Working Group

Harper Government Invests in Agriculture Supply Chain

Backgrounder

The Crop Logistics Working Group (CLWG) is a group of industry representatives whose mandate focuses on improving the performance of the supply chain for all crops, with a focus on innovation, capacity, and stakeholder collaboration. The CLWG was established in 2011 to give the agriculture sector an opportunity to provide input into the Rail Freight Service Review implementation process, to address any logistics issues related to the grain supply chain in the transition to marketing freedom, and to provide a forum for other transportation-related issues. Following the conclusion of its work, the CLWG is expected to report to the Minister on its findings.

Members of the CLWG have highlighted early recommendations to improve the competitiveness of the supply chain. Increased performance measurements will increase transparency in Canada's supply-chain.

The group is recommending the Government should examine ways to enhance existing measures and to address gaps in the current performance measurement framework for the Grain Handling and Transportation System. The CLWG work has highlighted gaps related to the frequency of reporting, limited reporting of movements beyond Canadian export ports and limits to reporting on supply chain capacity, reliability and performance. The CLWG has also recognized the need for both systems and company specific measures on supply chain performance. Enhanced reporting will facilitate better communication between supply chain participants, improve predictability through a better understanding of supply chain variability, and support improved planning, thereby reducing overall costs to the supply chain.

The Government has accepted the recommendations and is moving quickly to respond by proposing to implement enhancements to the Grain Monitoring Program to improve the frequency of reporting from quarterly to monthly, and to expand the range of metrics covered.

Contacts:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

Jeff English
Director of Communication
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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