WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 9 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co, the country’s biggest railroad, this week will reach the minimum weekly grain volume ordered by the government, Chief Executive Claude Mongeau said on Wednesday.
Mongeau, speaking to reporters after addressing a business audience in Winnipeg, said the company will move 500,000 tonnes of grain this week as required by a government order. The order also requires rival Canadian Pacific Railway Limited to move 500,000 tonnes this week in an effort to clear a massive grain logjam.
Transport Canada spokeswoman Ashley Kelahear confirmed the railways were on course to reaching their targets as of March 29, the most recent data available.
The grain backlog is due to extreme circumstances, Mongeau said, such as a record 76 million tonne Western Canada crop and the most severe winter in decades.
Millions of tonnes of grain, worth up to C$20 billion ($18.3 billion) are sitting in country elevators and farm bins, with the railways behind on tens of thousands of car orders from grain handlers.
Canadian government legislation moving through the House of Commons would also give it authority to set minimum weekly levels of grain movement in coming years. It ordered the railways on March 7 to ramp up to moving a combined 1 million tonnes of grain per week on up to 11,000 cars.