CP plans $500 million investment for grain supply chain with new cars
CP grain shippers can expect to see more than 500 of these new cars in service before the end of 2018, enabling CP to transport more grain in each dedicated train.
CP's plans for revitalizing its grain hopper fleet begin with an initial order for 1,000 cars from National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ont.
Over the next four years, CP plans to order approximately 5,900 hopper cars in total, enabling a complete removal of all low-capacity hoppers, including all Government of Canada cars, from the fleet.
The investment is made possible by changes to the Maximum Revenue Entitlement formula through the passage of the Transportation Modernization Act, Act C-49, which provided CP the certainty needed to place the order.
CP will be the first Class 1 railway to receive hoppers as a result of the Act's changes.
The new car design is shorter, lighter and can carry more grain than the cars being retired from CP's fleet.
The new cars feature a three-pocket design that can be loaded and unloaded more efficiently than the old four-pocket government cars.
The new hopper cars can handle more than 15 percent greater volume and 10 percent greater load weight than the cars being retired, while featuring a shorter frame that enables more cars in a train of the same length.
The cars will feature newly manufactured components that are more reliable, significantly reducing maintenance-related delays.
The order comes as CP is working toward an 8,500-foot-long, power-on model for its dedicated grain trains. Under this model, CP's high-efficiency dedicated trains will stretch from the current 112 cars, creating efficiency and capacity within the grain handling system.
With the new shorter and lighter hopper-car fleet, CP will be able to fit 118 cars within the current 7,000 foot, 112-car unit train definition, adding approximately 16 percent more capacity per train.
CP will eventually be able to fit 147 of the new cars within the 8,500-foot train design, each carrying more grain than the retired cars.
This translates into more opportunity for the movement of grain in the future, supporting the anticipated continued growth in crop production across the prairies.
The future of grain at CP is one of increasing efficiency that will benefit grain shippers, farmers, port terminals and CP's network. ■