David Przednowek, assistant vice-president of grain for CN Rail, says now that we're looking towards the end of September and early October, that's always going to be full run rate.

"It's certainly coming a little bit faster than we would have been projecting based on our customer demand forecast. Now saying that, our volumes have ramped up quite a bit here in grain shipment, week six and seven, which are the first two weeks of September. We averaged 600,000 tonnes of shipments of grain and processed grain products, that compares to maybe 425,000 tonnes in the previous two weeks."

He notes if you go back to grain shipping week four and five, which would be the middle of August, that was only around 325,000 metric tonnes. 

Przednowek says with the volume of grain they pick up,  in order to be prepared they rely on the customer demand forecast as they start pulling cars and locomotives out of storage to meet that need.

Another key need of course is staff and over the last few months CN has been furiously hiring more people.

He says a key push to hire more staff centers around the Federal Government's regulatory changes relating to work-rest rules for freight railway companies which came into effect in May of 2023.

"As we took a look at what the potential impacts of that would be, besides the fact that you're still in this job market, which is the tightest in 60 years and you've got a lot of baby boomers exiting the workforce. On top of that, you've got changes in work rest rules that you know modeling it out before you see the rules come into effect in May of 2023. You're expecting that hundreds of more people will be required to do the same amount of work, as would have been done prior to those changes in the work-rest rules taking place."

He notes while they've been planning and working towards that, what actually happens out in the field can look quite different than what you anticipate.

To hear Glenda-Lee's interview with David Przednowek click on the link below.