Producer railway cars

Ship grain by producer railway cars

Under the Canada Grain Act, grain producers are entitled to order producer railway cars through the Canadian Grain Commission to ship any grain regulated under the Canada Grain Act.

Producer railway cars are used to ship grain directly to a particular destination and provide producers a delivery alternative to the licensed grain handling system. Producers can use an administrator who submits a completed producer car application on their behalf to the Canadian Grain Commission. They also have the option to deal directly with the Canadian Grain Commission and self-administer their cars.

Shipping grain by a producer car can involve several different players. The Canadian Grain Commission is responsible for allocating producer cars. The railways (Canadian Pacific (CP), Canadian National (CN) and short line railways) are also involved as they operate the rail networks. When a part of the process is handled by CP or CN, you will be directed to the relevant web site for more information.


Apply for a producer railway car online

Producer railway car administrators and producers who are administering their own producer railway cars can apply for a producer railway car online.

  • Before applying for a producer railway car

    Review the following information prior to submitting your application:


    Information about applications

    • Producers may submit applications for a producer railway car to the Canadian Grain Commission through an administrator or directly to the Canadian Grain Commission if they are self-administering a producer railway car.
    • Administrators must apply for producer railway cars online. Producers who are self-administering their cars can apply online, by fax at 204-984-4079 or by mail. The Canadian Grain Commission mailing address is in the Contacts section below.
    • Producers must include their email addresses on their applications. Administrators must provide producer email addresses.

    Each application must be a distinct order for a single grade of grain going to a particular station and destination. The application must include information about the precise siding (for example, lease site name if applicable).

    • Each producer must have a confirmed sale and destination. After the application is completed, the producer will be asked to verify a confirmed sale by email.
    • The application must specify which shipping week the producer requires the producer railway car.
    • Before cars are authorized, the administrator (or self-administering producer) may make the following changes to an application:
      • requested shipping week
      • station and precise siding
      • administrator (if self-administering)
      • number of cars applied for. Important: The number of cars applied for can only be reduced. To increase the number of cars, the administrator or self-administering producer must complete and forward a new application to the Canadian Grain Commission.

    Important: Producer identification numbers

    The Canadian Grain Commission issues producer identification numbers to each producer taking part in the producer railway car program. These identification numbers replace Canadian Wheat Board identification numbers. Contact the Canadian Grain Commission producer railway car unit at or 1-800-853-6705 to get a producer railway car identification number.

    Information about producer railway cars

    • Self-administrating includes arranging for credit for shipping charges with railways and paying freight costs yourself. An administrating company can do this for producers as part of their services.
    • Up to 5 producers may load grain into a single producer railway car. One producer must be designated as the principal producer and act as the administrator for documentation and correspondence for the group.
    • Shipping infested or contaminated grain, grain products or screenings is prohibited.
    • Shipping a car that has been fumigated is prohibited.
    • Producer railway car loading facilities are not licensed under the Canada Grain Act. Grain handled and stored at producer car loading facilities is not protected by the security held by the Canadian Grain Commission.
    • A producer must have written permission to load at a leased site. A copy of this written permission must be forwarded to the Canadian Grain Commission. A producer must also have a confirmed sale.
  • How to apply for a producer railway car
    1. An administrator must apply for producer railway cars online. Producers who are administering their own cars may apply online or complete the Application for Producer to Obtain Railway Cars form and mail or fax it to the Canadian Grain Commission (contact information is listed below).
    2. For each car applied for, submit the non-refundable fee (code 335) to the Canadian Grain Commission. Important: fees are adjusted annually on April 1.
    3. Payment may be by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express) or electronic funds transfer. An application will not be processed until the fee is paid.
      • If paying by credit card, the Canadian Grain Commission will contact the applicant for more information. Do not provide account information on an application.
    4. The Canadian Grain Commission will send a letter acknowledging the receipt of the producer railway car application(s), once the application(s) have been processed.
      • A copy of the credit card transaction and a receipt will be emailed if the car application fee was paid by credit card.

    Note: Once a credit card payment is processed, all credit card information is destroyed.

  • Allocating producer railway cars

    The Canadian Grain Commission allocates producer railway cars in the order it receives applications. A producer railway car may be scheduled for the requested week, provided that:

    • the Canadian Grain Commission receives the application at least one week before the requested week
    • the producer has demonstrated to the Canadian Grain Commission’s satisfaction that the grain to be shipped is committed to a confirmed sale
    • the administrator or self-administering producer has demonstrated to the Canadian Grain Commission’s satisfaction that authorization has been obtained for the unload destination

    Before a car is allocated, the Canadian Grain Commission will:

    • contact the producer or administrator by phone or fax to make sure the producer can load the car during a given shipping week
    • email the producer or administrator an authorization letter when their order is finalized
    • email loading instructions with an authorization number and a railway Order Reference Number (ORN) to the producer, administrator or the railway

    There is no guarantee that a producer’s car(s) will be allocated or spotted before the end of the crop year.

    Shipping request lists

    Administrators may submit shipping request lists to the Canadian Grain Commission. This is a list of cars that an administrator wants allocated for the next shipping week and is based on existing applications that have been processed by the Canadian Grain Commission.

    Administrators must submit their shipping request lists for the following shipping week to the Canadian Grain Commission before 12 pm (CT) on Monday.

    Each request list must include, by loading site:

    • name of producer
    • number of cars
    • commodity
    • destination

    Backlog rule

    The backlog rule ensures fair access to producer railway car loading sites because it limits the number of cars allocated to a producer or company to 2 times the maximum car spot at a loading site. For example, a producer can load up to 8 cars at a 4-car spot. After that, the next producer in the queue may load cars at that site.

  • Cancelling or postponing your application

    If, at any time, the producer does not require the requested producer railway cars, the producer or administrator must immediately notify the Canadian Grain Commission to either cancel or postpone the producer’s application before the cars are ordered from the railways. Once the Canadian Grain Commission has placed a car order with a railway and the railway has accepted it, the producer may be charged a cancellation fee by the railway.

    The Canadian Grain Commission will cancel any order if the status of a confirmed sale, destination authorization or producer identified on the order changes.

    For any cancellation, the Canadian Grain Commission will cancel the cars and advise the railways, administrator and producer.

  • Completing the declaration of eligibility form

    If a producer is delivering any type of grain regulated by the Canada Grain Act, to the licensed handling system or by a producer railway car, they are required to complete a declaration of eligibility for delivery of grain form. This form confirms that the grain the producer will deliver is of a variety eligible for the kind of grain and class for which payment is requested.

    If a producer is using an administrator, the producer is responsible for signing the declaration form and sending it to the administrator before the producer loads a car. If a producer is self-administering a car and it is being shipped to a licensed terminal elevator, the producer must send a copy of the signed declaration form to the terminal elevator before the car is unloaded there.

  • Spotting producer railway cars

    You can receive updates on when a producer’s cars will be spotted.

    If the producer is shipping on CN lines:

    If the producer is shipping on CP lines:

    • Contact the producer car administrator for the car’s status.

    For other inquiries, please contact the Canadian Grain Commission’s producer railway car unit directly at


  • Loading producer railway cars

    The railway or the administrator should contact the producer by phone to indicate when the requested car will be spotted for loading and how much time the producer will have to load the car. If requested cars are not spotted during the scheduled week, producers should contact their administrators or the railway.

    Producer railway cars must be loaded:

    • by or for the authorized producer
    • with the authorized producer’s grain
    • with the correct grain and as authorized by the Canadian Grain Commission

    Other considerations for loading producer railway cars:

    • loading through a licensed grain elevator is prohibited
    • shipping infested or contaminated grain, grain products or screenings is prohibited
    • shipping a car that has been fumigated is prohibited
    • any tape covering the car’s vents and any old tags or placards must be removed
    • if a car is not loaded on time and is pulled empty by the railway, the Canadian Grain Commission will cancel the car and the railway will charge the producer a penalty fee
    • depending on the circumstances, the producer or administrator may need to apply again and pay another fee before a car is spotted again
    • producers must provide their own seals
    • Safe Operating Practices Overview document (PDF – 1.5 MB)

    CN and CP provide more information about loading producer cars on their web sites.

  • Completing shipping documents

    Bill of lading

    After a producer has loaded a car, the producer must complete a bill of lading from the railway. The producer or administrator must submit the bill of lading to the railway in a timely and accurate manner.

    Important: Verify the contents of a car

    The bill of lading may be required to verify the contents of a car. Ensure that the loading information included in the bill of lading is accurate and identifies the producer as the shipper.

  • Releasing producer railway cars

    After the producer has loaded a car and completed the bill of lading, the producer or administrator must release the car.

    • If a producer has an administrator, the producer notifies the administrator when the car is loaded and arranges to have the administrator release the car.
    • If a producer is self-administering a car, the producer releases the car to the railway electronically. The producer will need:
      • an authorization number, supplied by the Canadian Grain Commission
      • a railway Order Reference Number (ORN), supplied by the Canadian Grain Commission
  • Completing shipping reports

    Shipping reports must be completed with car load information after the car has been loaded and released. To complete a shipping report, the producer or administrator records the authorization number and railcar number for each car that has been loaded and released. Completed shipping reports must be sent to the Canadian Grain Commission’s producer car unit.

  • Penalties

    Railways may charge penalties for demurrage, late releases, late cancellations and any changes a producer or administrator makes to the bills of lading after the cars are released.


  • Unloading at port

    When a producer’s grain arrives at a licensed terminal elevator, it will be sampled, inspected and/or weighed in a manner authorized by the Canadian Grain Commission either by:

    • the terminal elevator operator, or
    • a third-party service provider authorized by the Canadian Grain Commission and chosen by the terminal elevator operator (third-party service providers are used only if requested by the producer or administrator)

    The Canadian Grain Commission inspects, tests and approves inward automatic sampler and delivery systems used for receiving grain at licensed terminal elevators. The Canadian Grain Commission has assumed an oversight role in the operation of these inward sampling systems to ensure compliance with the Sampling Systems Handbook and Approval Guide. All samples taken as part of an inspection on the inward receipt of grain must be taken in accordance with this guide.

  • Infested grain

    All producer railway cars are inspected by a terminal elevator operator or third-party service provider upon receipt at the licensed terminal elevator. If an insect infestation is discovered at unload, the Canadian Grain Commission is notified of the infestation details. The associated sample is forwarded to the Canadian Grain Commission to verify the identity of the insects. The Canadian Grain Commission then works with the terminal elevator operator to manage the infestation at the terminal elevator.

    If the insects found are injurious, noxious or troublesome to the grain’s integrity, the grain is considered infested.

    Important: Costs of fumigation

    If infested grain is commingled with other grain, industry policy dictates that the producer is accountable for the total costs of fumigation of all affected grain.

    Producers should check their grain for the presence of insect pests prior to shipping it in producer railway cars. Samples should be sieved using standard No. 4.5 round hole or No. 10 mesh sieves and any material that falls through carefully examined. To identify insects or for information on strategies to control insect pests in stored grain, please see Managing stored grain.

  • Contaminated grain

    Under the Canada Grain Act, a licensed grain handling facility cannot receive grain that is contaminated and may refuse to accept delivery of any grain that is believed to be contaminated. The Canada Grain Act also prohibits delivery of grain that is contaminated.

    Under the Canada Grain Act, contaminated means grain that contains “any substance in sufficient quantity that the grain is unfit for consumption by persons and animals or is adulterated within the meaning of the regulations made pursuant to paragraph 30(1)(a) of the Food and Drugs Act.”

    Any delays caused by contaminated grain can result in additional cost to the producer. Extra charges, such as storage charges or costs related to potential contamination of other grain in the facility could be passed on to the producer, if traceable.

  • Failure to meet authorized shipment

    If the producer’s grain at unload does not match what was authorized for shipment, the producer may experience delays in the allocation of any subsequent cars and may incur additional charges at the terminal (such as storage charges and demurrage).

  • Damp grain and off-grades

    Shipments of damp grain, off-grades (which includes grain with excreta) or grain that is likely to go out of condition will be authorized only if a licensed terminal elevator has agreed to unload the grain.

  • Requesting reinspection

    If a producer is not satisfied with the grade, protein, moisture or dockage assigned to their grain during inward inspection of a railway car at a licensed terminal elevator, the producer has the right to request binding determination of grade and dockage by the Canadian Grain Commission.

    A producer must request a reinspection within 5 calendar days after the date of the original inspection. The producer (or the administrator) must:

    Upon receipt of the Inward Reinspection Application and the representative sample provided by the receiving licensed terminal elevator, the Chief Grain Inspector for Canada will inspect the sample and issue an Inward Reinspection Certificate to both parties involved in the disagreement. If the grade assigned to the grain is different from the grade previously assigned, the Chief Grain Inspector for Canada will require all inspection certificates and other documents relating to the grain to be revised accordingly. Final determination rests with the office of the Chief Grain Inspector for Canada.

Settling for grain and charges incurred

  • Settling of payment and charges incurred when using a producer railway car

    If a producer ships to a Canadian Grain Commission licensed elevator, the producer is paid based on the grade and net weight of the grain at unload. If the producer uses an administrator, the administrator usually pays the freight, cleaning charges and any weighing and inspection fees that may apply on the producers’ behalf. The administrator deducts these fees from the final payment to the producer.

    Producers are encouraged to get the proper documentation as without it they may not be able to make a claim for compensation if there are any problems.

  • Settling a dispute

    A producer is primarily responsible for settling any disputes that they may have with:

    However, if the producer is having trouble getting a settlement for their grain from a company licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission, they should contact the Canadian Grain Commission.


  • Producer Car Unit

    Canadian Grain Commission
    601 - 303 Main Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3G8

    Producer Car Officer
    Telephone: 1-800-853-6705 or 204-983-3368
    Fax: 204-984-4079

  • Other Canadian Grain Commission contacts

    Inquiry Line
    Telephone: 1-800-853-6705

    Grain Sanitation Services Office (for infested grain)
    Telephone: 1-800-853-6705 or 204-983-3790

  • Railways

    Canadian National
    Transportation Service Center
    Telephone: 1-877-208-5019
    Web site: Canadian National

    Canadian Pacific
    Car releasing/manual bills of lading
    Telephone: 1-204-947-8140

    Grain operations
    Telephone: 1-800-704-4000
    Fax: 1-800-704-3000
    Web site: Canadian Pacific

  • Disputes with the railway

    If you need more information about disputes with the railway, you can contact the Canadian Grain Commission or the Canadian Transportation Agency.

    Canadian Transportation Agency
    15 Eddy Street
    Hull, Quebec  K1A 0N9
    Telephone: 1-888-222-2592
    Web site: Canadian Transportation Agency

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