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The weak link in Canada’s grain supply chain

By Bruce Burrows      

One-half of Canada’s food production is exported, yet it relies on a 40-year-old fleet of railway cars. A supply chain, like any chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. And the weakest link in the export supply chain serving our grain industry is the aging fleet of 'Government of Canada' covered hoppers.

To quote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured March 22 with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, 'In Canada, better is always possible.' Canada’s grain producers deserve a better, more modern supply chain and it is possible to achieve just that through a creative effort between the government and the private sector, writes Bruce Burrows. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

While oil and gas continue in a free fall and mining and other sectors of the Canadian economy are struggling with low commodity prices and weak demand, the grain and agri-foods sector is going strong. This is a good thing, since Canada’s agriculture and agri-foods sector accounts for 6.7 per cent of GDP and supports one job in eight, employing over 2.2 million people. In fact, Canada is the fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products in the world.

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