CWB winter rail program nears finish line

The Canadian Wheat Board’s winter rail program is on target to meet export expectations made in the fall, according to a CWB official.

The CWB’s winter rail program transports grain from Western Canada and already-stored supplies at Thunder Bay, Ont. to eastern export facilities while the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway are closed for the winter from late December to late March.

The grain is primarily exported through the Port of Quebec, which has cleaning and drying capacity for grain.

With the 2010-11 winter rail program due to come to an end in the very near future, it appears 800,000 tonnes of wheat and durum will have been railed from the Prairies to export positions at ports on the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Eastern Canada, said Maureen Fitzhenry, director of media relations for the CWB.

During the 2009-10 winter rail program, 1.4 million tonnes of wheat and durum were moved. The year-ago program had a lot more to move as the crop was sizeably larger, Fitzhenry said.

During the 2008-09 winter rail program, 1.3 million tonnes of board grains were transported.

From a historical standpoint, she said, the CWB’s winter rail program moves roughly 800,000 to one million tonnes of western Canadian wheat and durum per year.

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