Alberta Barley

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Mar 27

Grain movement – rail and ports moving above average levels of grain

Posted on Mar 27 By: Victoria Decker

Port of Vancouver

  • Port of Vancouver continues to operate as normal and non-essential inside staff have been sent to work at home.
  • There are no anticipated work disruptions from the port or unions and it does not appear that boarder closures are impacting docking or crews.
  • The total number of container ship sailings cancelled to date is now 33.
  • This continues to put restrictions on bookings of export containerized shipments of grain, due to container availability and vessel space.
  • Bulk shipments have not been affected.

Rail Transport

  • Grain transport on rail is going well so far.
  • CP and CN order fulfillment is greater than average for this time of year.
  • There is some free capacity that would normally be allocated to import containers, oil, automotive, and potash.
  • Port stocks and port unloads are greater than average for this time of year.
  • At current rates, we are recovering 50,000 – 75,000 metric tonnes a week from the shortfall.
  • The next concern is a shortage of rail crews due to illness.
  • We understand that railways are focused on supplying crews with protocols to try to manage potential illness.
  • They will be ramping down hiring; potential lay-offs.
  • China appears to be ready to resume shipping. 


  • Border restrictions have been put into place by the federal government provide for exemptions to commercial carriers, including truck drivers.
  • There have been some reports of blocking of truckers at the border if they are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  • Government of Canada has set up a hotline as a means to address this.
  • The US and Canada are communicating on issues with a commitment to keep agriculture and agri-food products moving.

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