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Canola farmers complain about ‘dismal’ rail service to transport agency

Canada’s record canola and wheat harvests have clogged its rail arteries and overwhelmed its ports.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

Canola farmers are complaining to the Canadian Transportation Agency about what they call "dismal" service from the country's two biggest railways.

The Canadian Canola Growers Association says Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have not fulfilled their obligation to move Western Canadian grains and oilseeds to market this crop year.

The group's complaint cites provisions in the Canadian Transportation Act that requires railways to provide "adequate and suitable" accommodation for all traffic their customers want moved.

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The arms-length regulatory agency will issue a determination within 120 days of receiving the complaint.

In recent months, Western Canadian farmers have been expressing growing frustration about their inability to move a record grain crop to market by rail.

The rail companies say they've done everything they can considering the sheer volume of grain, combined with unusually harsh winter conditions.

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