Did You Know?
Agricultural products are one-third of Saskatchewan's exports.
From 1897 to 1984, rail transportation rates for western grains were federally regulated under a rate structure known as the Crow's Nest Pass Freight Rate. The agreement establishing the Crow's Nest Pass Freight Rate was signed in 1897 and set a rate ceiling for grain and grain products moving eastward to Thunder Bay. The ceiling rate for grain was fixed by statute in 1925. From 1925 to 1931 successive legislative amendments extended the effect of the statutory rates to all shipping points on the prairies, to all railways and to all destination ports.
The system remained virtually unchanged until the 1960's. In 1961, the MacPherson Royal Commission reported that the railways were losing money in grain handling. The small return to the railways led to deferred maintenance of Prairie branchlines and reduced investment in rolling stock and infrastructure. As a result, the rail lines in Western Canada became less and less able to support the demands of increasing grain exports and the rail car fleet, largely composed of boxcars, was not being renewed with modern covered hopper cars that were becoming the norm in the industry.
In the early 1970's Canada lost major international grain sales because the country's grain car fleet was obsolete and did not have the capacity to get grain products to export position. As a result of this situation, the Government's of Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Canadian Wheat Board began to purchase hopper cars for use in the grain handling and transportation system in Western Canada.
The decision of the Government of Saskatchewan to purchase the hopper cars, resulted in the Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation (SGCC) being established by Order-in-Council 1787/79 on October 2, 1979 under the provisions of The Crown Corporations Act, 1978 and continued under The Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation Act.
In 1980, the Government of Saskatchewan made a strategic investment of approximately $55 million in Canada's grain transportation system by purchasing 1,000 covered hopper cars for the movement of export grain grown by western producers.
The SGCC, a provincial Treasury Board Crown Corporation, is responsible for the management of the province's investment of the railway hopper car fleet. The SGCC office was originally established in Melville, SK and then in 2003 all management functions were moved to Regina.