Skip to content

Saskatchewan in discussions on how to transport anticipated large harvest this crop year

In preparation for a large crop this season, the Government of Saskatchewan is in discussions with grain producers, and providers of transportation services.

In preparation for a large crop this season, the Government of Saskatchewan is in discussions with grain producers, and providers of transportation services. With the exception of some local issues in certain parts of the province, yields are expected to be above average for cereal and oilseed crops this year.

In a media release from the Government of Saskatchewan, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart stated that it is encouraging to see crops across the province doing so well, and that getting products to market is critical to the success of Saskatchewan.

Stewart referenced 2013, a year in which a large crop created challenges for shippers, railways and ports in Saskatchewan.

“We don’t want to see a repeat situation this year,” said Stewart.

Since 2013, the need for transparency and accountability in the grain handling and transportation system has been a priority. Now, with improved crop varieties and agronomic practices, production levels continue to grow in Saskatchewan. 

According to the release, many farmers have requested the government to find solutions to ensure producers get their crops to customers safely, efficiently, reliably and at a fair cost.

“In early July, we wrote the federal government and the two railways to advise of a potential large crop,” said Stewart. “We stressed the importance of ensuring the grain handling and transportation system is prepared to move this year’s crop in a timely and efficient manner.”

In the release, Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner stated the Government of Saskatchewan has been putting pressure on Transport Canada to make sure contingencies are in place, should any issues occur this season. 

Heppner also said the government is looking to see the Canada Transportation Act changed to make sure Saskatchewan businesses are able to move goods reliably and at competitive prices to its international customers, while maintaining public safety.

“We hope all parties will step up and do what is necessary to move the crop this year,” Stewart said.  “For example, if there is a strike at the Port of Prince Rupert, we encourage the federal government to consider back-to-work legislation to ensure the timely movement of harvest.”

The New West Partnership (NWP) prioritized transportation at an infrastructure summit it held 2014, with a focus on cultivating strong collaboration between the different participants in the supply chain, and building capacity for long-term growth in Western Canada.

The Pacific Gateway Alliance, a group associated with the NWP, has made progress to manage its system capacity better. This progress includes hosting a grain transportation workshop in the spring, as part of its focus on performance and market access. 

The release states that as the harvest season approaches, an open dialogue between producers, shippers and grain transportation service providers is necessary. Saskatchewan’s credibility and relationship with international customers is highly influenced by its ability to get goods to their destinations on time because of the high demand that exists worldwide for the products it produces.