Manitoba announced measures it's taking to help farmers get their grain shipped, now that Ottawa's come to their rescue with getting CP and CN to ship the grain backed up in silos since last fall.
"Last year, we saw a bumper crop throughout the prairies but this transportation backlog means that crops aren't getting to market. We know that farmers don't get paid until their grain is delivered to the customer," Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said in today's announcement.
He welcomed Ottawa's steps last week to get the grain shipped to its destination.
Ottawa announced March 7 that Canadian Pacific and Canadian National face penalties of $100,000 a day unless they double their volumes of grain shipments.
To get the grain to the tracks, Manitoba is offering three new measures keyed to the province's low-lying areas: a review of flood prone areas to help farmers move at-risk grain, a listing service for producers to get new storage locations for the at-risk grain. Finally it will ease road restrictions to move the grain to the tracks for rail shipments this spring.
The measures are the recommendations of a provincial task force set up of senior cabinet ministers. They focused on those three measures after consulting with Keystone Agricultural Producers, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, and the Western Grain Elevator Association.
The province also noted that if recommendations they made as part of a federal rail freight review in 2010 had been implemented, it would ease the backlog now.
Those recommendations included amending federal legislation to give transportation regulators the power to set up service standards and to direct national railways to install interchanges where rail tracks intersect, making it easier to move cargo across the country.