Canadian Pacific has improved service for its Canadian grain customers this crop year by reducing scheduling variability and increasing access to rail car supply. Crop year-to-date, empty order fulfillment, a metric that highlights rail car availability, has increased by 19 percent or 11,000 units versus a year ago.
In 2011, CP simplified how it serves its Canadian grain network by grouping more than 165 prairie-based elevators into eight separate operating hubs. Within these hubs, the railway commits locomotives and a dedicated scheduled day of week service to each elevator. This operating model has delivered a 26 percent improvement in on-time performance, allowing customers to better optimize their grain elevator operations through more effective delivery coordination and manpower planning.
“We have worked in conjunction with our grain customers to facilitate a strong network of modern grain elevators located on the Canadian Prairies that are capable of loading 112 car unit trains within a 24-hour period, adding significantly to the efficiency of the grain handling and transportation system,” said Steve Whitney vice president of agri-business and market development. “Our results confirm that by eliminating the variability in grain service scheduling, we not only provide better communications and service to our customers, but unlock capacity across the entire logistics chain.”
Technology upgrades were also added with the introduction of CP’s Grain Car Request System (GCRS), a new and more efficient way for its customers to request cars and track their shipments. The web portal platform in support of this system allows customers to view their request status and service plans online and in real time. GCRS allows CP a level of planning flexibility.