MONTREAL - Canada's two largest railways have been fined a total of $150,000 for failing to transport the minimum required grain volumes last year, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday.
Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) will pay $100,000 for violations under the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act related to shipments for the weeks of July 28 and Sept. 7. Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) has been assessed a $50,000 penalty for the week of Sept. 7.
Transport Canada said it continues to review the remaining fall data on grain volumes to ensure the railways adhered to the volume requirements.
The department said in September it would fine the railways up to $100,000 per week at the minister's discretion. It issued notices of violation Dec. 12.
Montreal-based CN said it will pay the lower $50,000 per week administrative monetary penalty and continue to focus on efficiently moving Western Canadian grain to markets.
"CN is heartened that the Transport Canada enforcement officer's investigation appropriately took into account factors beyond CN's control and also reflected the important role that others play in the grain supply chain," spokesman Mark Hallman said.
He said the railway continues to move record grain shipments from the 2014/2015 crop year. By the end of 2014, it had 1,500 orders on its wait list, the equivalent of about three days of shipments.
The railway said its grain volumes are subject to market demand, corridor constraints and the performance of other supply chain partners such as grain elevator companies.
"To date, CN has exceeded its government-mandated minimum grain volumes by more than 1.5 million metric tonnes."
A spokesman for Calgary-based CP Rail couldn't be reached for comment.
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