Thank you very much for asking this excellent question.
First, it's important to understand that the rail system extends over 26,000 miles across North America. It is also important to realize that it's an external network.
We have to make choices every day. We have an obligation to provide our customers with services that meet the standards we impose on ourselves so that their goods reach the market in a timely manner. In making our decisions, we ask ourselves how we can ensure the network operates smoothly while serving our customers. It isn't as if, one morning, we make the decision to move grain that day, coal the next, and oil next week. We must transport all goods on a daily basis.
We must take into account certain situations. For example, if there is no more space at the Port of Vancouver because cars aren't unloaded while it is raining and, for logistical reasons, the boats haven't arrived yet, we often transport the wheat to Kamloops and wait until the boat is in position before bringing our cars into Vancouver to serve the customer. If we sent all the wheat cars to Vancouver, we would risk clogging the Vancouver terminal.
These are choices that are made on a daily basis. People's perception that we choose one commodity over another is unfounded. We have to serve all our customers and it's a fairly complex network. Railroading is a team sport. It is also a sport that becomes more difficult during the winter, but that is no reason not to serve our customers.
I assure you that the choices are made daily by the people on the farm, so that all our customers receive the services to which they are entitled and that their goods reach the market. If we do not do so, we will damage the reputation of grain producers, the reputation of Western Canada, but more importantly, Canada's reputation as a commodity exporting country.