Alberta Barley

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May 1

Transportation continues to operate very well, with increased capacity

Posted on May 1 By: Victoria Decker


The Agriculture Transport Coalition (ATC) reported that railways supplied 97% of hopper cars ordered by Canadian grain elevators in week 37, an increase over the 93% supplied last week. Order fulfillment in Alberta for CP decreased in week 37 to 97% from 98% in the previous week, and CN increasing to 98% in week 37 from 86% in the previous week. 

In a year over year comparison for week 37, Canadian elevators ordered an additional 1,612 cars of grain to be moved, which represents an ask for an additional 16 trains. Demand for western movement to both Prince Rupert and Vancouver remains strong.

Of the 9,989 rail cars supplied in week 37, 5,491 were directed to bulk shipments in Vancouver and 1,276 were directed to bulk shipments in Prince Rupert. Shipments of grain East to Thunder Bay represented 2,580 rail cars for week 37. 


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 86% in week 37. 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.


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 79% full in week 37, an amount greater than average for this time of year.

Port unloads for bulk shipments, which lagged in week 36 to amounts in line with the 3-year average, increased above average in week 37. West coast vessel lineups for week 38 now sit at 27 ships. Since last week, waiting vessels lineup for Vancouver has reduced by 3 to 21 ships, while vessel lineups in Prince Rupert have increased by 1 to 6 ships. The week over week change in average time in port for ships in Vancouver has decreased from 11.8 to 9.10 days, and increased in Prince Rupert to 13.5 days from 11.8 days. Year over year, port unloads remain behind for week 37: 407,345 thousand tonnes behind for Vancouver and 478,773 thousand tonnes behind for Prince Rupert.

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 47 sailings have been cancelled due to the market disruptions from COVID-19. 

Grain elevators report no new suspected COVID cases

Elevators remain operating under COVID-19 protocols and grain deliveries appear to be occurring with minimal delays. There have been no new suspected cases since the report last week. All suspected cases to date have been handled according to guidelines and no significant closures of operations have been reported. 

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