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CN to boost fines for overloaded cars

Prairie farmers loading grain in producer rail cars to roll on CN track will need to carefully check cars’ load limits or risk fines of up to $10,000 per car, the Canadian Wheat Board warns.

CN on Jan. 1, 2009 will raise the fee from $1,560 per car to $10,000 per car in cases where it determines it is unsafe to complete a trip due to overloaded or improperly loaded rail cars, the CWB said Wednesday.

A rail car that’s found to exceed its load limit but can still safely complete a trip will mean only a $1,000 fine from CN, the CWB said.

Farmers loading producer cars are advised to check the load limit (gross weight, less the tare weight) of the cars they load, as not all grain cars carry the same load capacity, the CWB said.

If the stencils on a given rail car are unclear, a farmer should contact CN with the car number for more information on the car’s weight specs, the CWB said. CN’s customer support centre’s toll-free line is 1-866-926-7245.

Other updates

In the same notice, the CWB announced that the sign-up deadlines for its 2009-10 Wheat Storage Program and its 2009-10 Churchill Storage Program have both been extended to Jan. 30, 2009.

The Wheat Storage Program, which pays a per-tonne premium to keep high-end milling wheat stored in reserve, had previously set its sign-up deadline at Oct. 31 this year.

Under the Churchill Storage Program, farmers in the catchment area for the Hudson Bay port of Churchill, Man. are able to get at least $10.50 a tonne extra for storing Nos. 1 and 2 Canada Western Red Spring wheat (CWRS) destined for export through Churchill, with sign-up previously also available until Oct. 31.

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