Rail movement of export grain slows with cold weather

The latest statistics from the Ag Transport Coalition show a decline in service levels during shipping week 27, which ran from January 31st to February 6th.

The Ag Transport Coalition monitors railway performance on behalf of a number of groups that includes farmers and grain companies.

It says CN met only 63 percent of car orders during shipping week 27—down from the low 80’s the previous week.

CP maintained its performance in the low 70 percent range.

Milt Poirier with QGI Consulting compiles the statistics for the Ag Transport Coalition.

He notes the very cold weather began towards the end of shipping week 27.

He says the grainhandling system appears to be struggling because of the cold weather.

The full report for Shipping Week 28, covering February 7th to the 13th will be released in a few days, and Poirier expects the trend to continue.

He says the rail network has slowed considerably, with idle hopper car counts rising rapidly.

He says west coast ports have seen poor performance over the last week because the grain cars are not getting to port on time to be unloaded.

He says recovery may take 2 or 3 weeks but a derailment could cause further delays.

Milt Poirier manages the Ag Transport Coalition, which monitors rail performance on behalf of a consortium of agricultural groups that include farmers and grain companies.

His comments were made on the “Grain by Train” podcast.

It is produced by Pulse Canada—a member of the Ag Transport Coalition.
(with files from CJWW)


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