Farmers are concerned about the Alberta Government's plan to lease about 4,400 new rail cars to move oil.

The Province is investing about $3.7 billion to move up to 120,000 barrels per day by 2020. They say shipments are planned to started as early as July 2019.

General Manager of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, Tom Steve, says they're worried this extra strain will effect the railways' ability to get farmer's grain to market.

"When the product doesn't move to market, when it gets stuck in the elevator system, farmers are unable to deliver and unable to get paid."

Steve says grain movement has been fairly positive overall this year, but they've seen a slow down in rail service in the recent weeks because of some derailments and the cold weather causing rail companies to shorten trains.

"When the Premier says she's received assurances from the two major railways, we tend to take that with a bit of a grain of salt. We've heard promises from the rail companies in the past about service levels, and then something happens."

Steve says they've seen two major grain backlogs in the last five years.

He adds, there's also concern for other users of the system such as potash, coal and intermodal transportation.

Steve hopes the Alberta Government will conduct more consultation with the ag industry and show them a logistics plan.

 

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