CN Rail is promising to increase locomotive power and offer incentives to employees in attempts to improve grain movement.
This comes after a dismal performance in February. CN only managed to supply 17 per cent of hopper cars ordered by grain companies during the last half of the month. CP Rail was a bit better at approximately 50 per cent.
CN says it will deploy qualified managers to operate extra trains. It is also offering incentives for key operating employees to postpone vacations and delay retirement, as well as attempting to entice recently retired employees to return to work.
CN says it is planning to spend $250 million on various measures to improve grain flow.
Lee Moats farms near Riceton in the southeast part of the province. He is also a producer elected director with the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and is also the current Chair of Pulse Canada.
He was asked to assess CN Rail's statement.
"I don't know much about running a railroad, so it is hard for me to grasp whether the various changes of increasing cars, increasing locomotives, increasing staff are going to have the immediate effect we are looking for."
Moats indicates there is plenty of room for improvement.
"Clearly, they have some human resource problems, problems with equipment and some problems with management. It sounds like a pretty significant challenge for them, but we are hopeful. It at least shows that they are taking action and taking the situation seriously."
There are reports that as many as 35 ships are waiting to be loaded at the Port of Vancouver. Some of those vessels have been waiting for more than a month and are collecting demurrage penalties.