Very large seeded acres combined with favourable growing conditions across western Canada in 2013 resulted in record grain production in the region. With the record crop, the planned rail shipping program was well below what was required to export the crop in a one or two year period.

As of March 10, 2014 actual rail car shipments were about 60,000 cars behind planned movements. These shipping delays have resulted in more than fifty ships waiting at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, with costs associated with demurrage, dispatch, commercial penalties, and loss of reputation accumulating every day. The Federal government recently announced it will now require the railways to move an additional 1000 rail cars per week beyond the rail (Fall 2013) shipping plan. Even with this action, it will take approximately 60 weeks to make up the current handling backlog.

The lack of grain movement has increased the gap between port and prairie grain prices. The situation has limited delivery opportunities and caused significant drops in grain prices putting many farmers in a very difficult financial squeeze. With basis levels increasing by over $50 per tonne for this crop year and next, the costs at the farm level in Western Canada could exceed $5 billion dollars. Given the large impact on farm income the transportation crisis will ripple through the agricultural industry, rural economies, the and the provincial economies and impacting taxpayers all across Canada.

The Grain Handling and Transportation Summit was hosted by the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics and supported by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan.

The presentations were video recorded and can be viewed by clicking here.


The objective of this Summit was to bring a wide range of stakeholders and experts together to share information regarding the current state of grain movements, price and income prognosis, and to discuss short and long run solutions.


  • What is the current status of grain movement?
  • What is the prognosis for movement, prices and incomes for 2014/2015?
  • Where are the bottlenecks in the grain handling and transportation system?
  • What are some the short-term solutions?
  • What are the long-run solutions?


This one-day Summit was for all involved and/or interested in the production, handling and transportation of grain in Western Canada.

We extended an invite to farmers, grain handlers, railways, port terminals, agricultural input industry, processors, academics, industry experts, governments and policy makers.


The Grain Handling and Transportation Summit was held at the Saskatoon Inn located at 2002 Airport Drive in Saskatoon.

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PDFPrintable Agenda

YouTube Video Recordings of Presentations

Click here to view presenter bios

8:00 – 8:20 AM

8:20 AM



8:30 – 9:45 AM





Session 1: The Status of the Grain Transportation System

Chair: Jill Hobbs, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

Overview of Grain Movements
Bruce McFadden , Quorom Corporation

Farm Price Impacts Looking Forward
Cliff Jamieson, DTN


9:45 – 10:05 AM

Coffee Break

10:05 – 11:50 AM







Session 2: Meeting the Challenge of Greater Movement

Chair: Bill Brown, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

CN's Perspective
David Miller, Government Affairs, CN Rail

Port Perspective
Gerry Gault, Vancouver Grain Workers Union

Independent Inland Terminal Perspective
Perry Pellerin, GNP Grain Source Group


12:00 – 1:00 PM

Lunch - Stitches and Switches
Moderator: Eric Micheels, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

Rules: Participants have 90 seconds to share their ideas on some potential fixes to the recent transportation issues (stitches) or on their thoughts on who needs a bit of tough love (switches). Time will be moderated to allow for as much dialogue as possible over lunch.


1:00 – 2:45 PM






Session 3: Markets and Policy Solutions

Chair: James Nolan, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

The Role of Futures Markets and Contract Design
Joe Janzen, Montana State University

US Experience with Deregulation
Terry Whiteside, Whiteside & Associates

Policy Options to Reduce the Basis
Richard Gray, University of Saskatchewan


2:45 – 3:00 PM

Coffee Break


3:00 – 4:30 PM



Session 4: Next Steps for Engagement and Finding Solutions

Chair: Bill Martin, Farmers of North America

Ian McCreary
Grain and Livestock Producer, Bladworth, SK

Derek Tallon
Grain Producer, Lafleche, SK

Harvey McEwen
Grain Producer, Francis, SK


Click here to view presenter bios

Note: This event is being held at the Saskatoon Inn (2002 Airport Drive)



REGISTRATION FEE OF $60 (includes $2.86 GST).


Please register either:

Online using credit card using the PayPal link below.


Note: A PayPal account is not required.



By phoning Buwani at (306) 966-4054 or email to register and arrange cash or cheque payment (payable to the University of Saskatchewan) at the door.


Complimentary Student Registration is being provided courtesy of Farmers of North America.

To be eligible for free STUDENT REGISTRATION, students MUST register at the Dean's Office (College of Agriculture & Bioresources) by noon March 21, 2014.


Note: This event is being held at the Saskatoon Inn (2002 Airport Drive)



Thank-you to all our sponsors!


College of Ag Bio




Farmers of North America


SK Pulse Growers


SK Wheat Comm


SK Bly Dev Comm



Summit Organizers Summit Logistics

Richard Gray, University of Saskatchewan
Hartley Furtan, University of Saskatchewan
Bill Brown, University of Saskatchewan

Buwani Dayananda






© Grain Handling and Transport Summit. 2014. All rights reserved.