Guidelines for Producer Car Shippers

The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is responsible for administering applications for producer cars. When the CGC approves a producer car order, it places a grain car order request with CN for a hopper car for loading by the producer.

There are three ways for you to know when your car(s) will be spotted and the required loading time. CN only confirms and communicates its intention to fulfill a car orders request by including the order in a Planned Service Report, provided to the CGC and published in the Grain Car Order Status for Producers Tool. Service Plan changes are continuously updated and provided to the CGC and through the Grain Car Orders Status for Producer Tool.

  • Contact the Canadian Grain Commission Producer Car Unit.
  • Use the new Grain Car Order Status for Producers Tool.
    • How it Works: Enter the Producer Platform ID (same as your CGC authorization number) and your railway Order Reference Number (ORN) to view the most recent car spotting schedule and loading time for your railcar.
  • Contact CN's Transportation Service Center at 1-877-208-5019.

Safety is a top priority at CN and we are committed to damage-free transportation. We offer you below our guidelines for shipping grain in railcars.

Safety first

Be careful while you are working around your car. The ladders and catwalks can be slippery.

Do not tamper with air hoses and brakes. Never handle the brake controls. Leave this machinery alone, as it is already set.

Once you get your car

Inspect your car before loading. Make sure the bottom gates are closed and that the interior of the car is not contaminated with a foreign substance. If there are problems, contact our Transportation Service Center at 1-877-208-5019.

Do not overload your car. Check the tare weight, load limit and capacity of the car you have received. The weight of the grain you put in your car must not exceed the load limit of the car. Furthermore, the tare weight plus the weight of your grain must not exceed the maximum gross weight capacity of the route to destination. If you are unable to determine the capacity of the route to destination, contact our Transportation Service Center at 1-877-208-5019.

Make sure that all compartments in the car are loaded to the same level. This is important for safety. An improperly loaded car may result in a derailment, structural damage or commodity loss for the shipper. Improperly or overloaded cars, when detected, will be pulled aside for load adjustment. You will be responsible for arranging for the load to be reduced or rearranged, and you will have to pay the costs. CN will also bill you for additional switching and penalty charges.

Do not fumigate grain in railcars. Under tariff CN 9000, Regulations section, fumigation of grain in railcars shipped to Canadian port terminals or other destinations in Canada is prohibited due to the dangers associated with the build-up of hazardous gases produced by substances used to fumigate grain. Substances used to fumigate grain are Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials under Canada's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. A shipper of a railcar loaded with any dangerous goods must: (1) include special declarations in the shipment instructions submitted to CN, and (2) apply special signage to the exterior of the railcar.

After the car is loaded

Make sure your auger is clear of the car and that all hatches have been sealed, if necessary.

Use our eBusiness tool, Shipping Instructions, to submit your bill of lading electronically. The Shipping Instructions tell us the contents and where the car is destined. If you don't submit your bill of lading electronically to CN before the time that the car is pulled, we will place it on a siding in one of our yards until we receive your instructions. This causes delays to your shipment and will result in additional charges for the extra handling. Since you are not paid for your grain until it is delivered to its final destination, you will wish to avoid this situation.

If you are already a registered eBusiness customer but do not have access to Shipping Instructions, login and select the ‘Request Other Tools' option from the main menu. (If you are not registered, you can register now.)

Fill out and attach the I-90 tag to the car, if required.

Time to load and provide Shipping Instructions

Your grain car loading times for each train run/origin are identified on your Grain Car Order Status for Producers. Please plan accordingly when ordering your cars from the CGC, e.g. do not order three cars if you can only load two in 10 hours.

If you are on a 10-hour train run, CN will pull your cars when the train returns, whether they are loaded or not and whether you have billed them or not. If you need to leave your car unattended, make sure the auger and other equipment are clear of the car. This will prevent serious injury to bystanders and railway personnel, and the possibility of damage to your or railway equipment.

To determine your car spot capacity and on which grain train run (GTR) your loading site is located, you can consult the CN Producer Car Loader Station List (PDF).

If you run into exceptional difficulties due to mechanical breakdowns or severe weather conditions and are unable to load your car in the time allotted, contact our Transportation Service Center at 1-877-208-5019. CN may be able to help you under exceptional circumstances.

Loss or damage claims

Claims for damage or loss of grain transported by CN are infrequent. If you do need to file a claim, save time by filing it electronically using our eBusiness tool, Damaged Freight Claims.

Rights and responsibilities

As a producer, it is your right to order your own cars to ship your grain. The railway is responsible for getting your cars to you.

It is your responsibility to learn and follow the guidelines outlined above, otherwise you will be liable for the consequences. For example, if your car is overloaded, CN will stop the car in one of our yards and you will have to arrange to have it partially unloaded. This will result in delays as well additional charges on your shipment.

If you obstruct your producer car in a way that prevents CN from picking it up, this could affect safety and future service at your location.

If you cause damage to the railcars or track, you will be billed for the repair costs.

These obligations apply to all persons and companies that ship grain on CN lines.