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May 9

Total Canadian grain exports turn positive, while west coast exports remain behind last year

Posted on May 9 By: Victoria Decker

Rail

The Agriculture Transport Coalition (ATC) reported that railways supplied 95% of hopper cars ordered by Canadian grain elevators in week 38, a decrease over the 97% supplied last week. 

Order fulfillment in Alberta for CP decreased in week 38 to 94% from 97% in the previous week, and CN decreased to 94% in week 38 from 98% in the previous week. 

In a year over year comparison for week 38, Canadian elevators ordered an additional 2,403 cars of grain to be moved, which represents an ask for an additional 24 trains. 

Demand for western movement to both Prince Rupert and Vancouver remains strong. Of the 9,958 rail cars supplied in week 38, 5,757 were directed to bulk shipments in Vancouver and 1,303 were directed to bulk shipments in Prince Rupert.

Shipments of grain East to Thunder Bay represented 2,404 rail cars for week 38. 

Trucking

Despite seasonal road closures being reported in areas of the country, no reports have been received of undue or unexpected delays. Grain deliveries by truck appear to be continuing above average as country elevator stocks remain high.

AAFC reports that elevator grain stocks were at 83% in week 38. Elevator stocks remain higher than average, which is expected given the delays in grain transport experienced this year.

Country grain stocks are expected to begin a regular seasonal drop over the next few weeks as farmer attention turns from delivering grain to seeding of the 2020 crop.

Ports

Consistent delivery of grain by rail and truck has resulted in grain stocks in port terminals increasing despite another good week of vessel clearance. Port terminals are at 78% full in week 38, an amount greater than average for this time of year.

Port unloads for bulk shipments remained above average in week 38. West coast vessel lineups for week 39 now sit at 36 ships. Since last week, waiting vessels lineup for Vancouver has increased by 9 to 30 ships, while vessel lineups in Prince Rupert remained unchanged week over week at 6 ships. T

he week over week change in average time in port for ships in Vancouver has increased 9.10 to 9.80 days, and decreased in Prince Rupert to 7.00 days from 13.5 days. Year over year, port unloads for 2019-20 moved ahead in week 38 by 25,881 thousand tonnes due to strong movement to Thunder Bay. 

Year over year unloads remain behind for Vancouver by 298,534 thousand tonnes and Prince Rupert unloads remain behind by 475,913 thousand tonnes.

Limited sailings of container ships continue to create access issues to empty containers and space on ships for containerized grain exports.  For the year to date, the Port of Vancouver reports that 48 sailings have been cancelled due to the market disruptions from COVID-19.

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