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2014-02-28 at 16:55

Grain crisis?

Thunder Bay has space for around 1 million tonnes of grain right now.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Thunder Bay has space for around 1 million tonnes of grain right now.
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By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

In economic grain crisis in the west could have an affect on Thunder Bay’s port, however it’s unknown right now how significant it could be.

Canada usually produces around 52-million tonnes of grain in a given year. But last year's crop topped 90 million. That, coupled with a shortage of rail cars, has left millions of tonnes in the west waiting to be shipped.

More than 50 ships are in Vancouver waiting for grain.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has said the situation is a crippling economic crisis for his province and suggests that perhaps the grain should start being shipped south.

In places like Manitoba grain storage is over capacity.

Thunder Bay Port Authority CEO Tim Heney said that means it has to get moving soon.

The issue is unprecedented in the shipping season.

"The trick will be to get it out of that storage before flood season," he said.

Right now Thunder Bay has around a million tonnes of space for grain. But there's still no way to get it here. It's been predicted that moving last year's shipment will take until 2015.

Heney said he expects once shipments start moving the local port will be pretty busy.

But that depends on the individual grain elevators' strategy. The port authority is a statistical body that coordinates things like harbour maintenance and ice breaking.

"Beyond that it's up to the individual companies," Heney said.

Tbnewswatch.com(28)

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Comments

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Hardrawkin says:
No mention of why there is a shortage of Rail Cars? Did CN , CP just loose them or something?
2/28/2014 5:41:20 PM
tsb says:
They only have so many rail cars. Last year's harvest was nearly twice the side of the usual harvest, and neither CN nor CP are sitting on a large inventory of grain cars "just in case".
2/28/2014 9:17:43 PM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
Likely parked in favour of moving crude oil around. Trains can only be soo long (siding lengths, rules and regs, locomotives available, crewing, etc)
3/1/2014 12:44:48 AM
Iceman says:
Where did the cars go, down south??
2/28/2014 6:12:49 PM
hadenough says:
Maybe 5 years ago I saw hundreds of grain tankers being dismantled in the CN yard off Broadway, all going for scrap. I don't know if the high cost of aluminum or if the tankers themselves were worn out was the reason but the scrapping of the tankers went on all summer into the fall.
Guessing they were never replaced and now we have a shortage.
3/1/2014 10:57:22 AM
Ranma says:
With all the derailments and explosions lately, I would say yes, CN and CP have lost a lot of cars. /s
2/28/2014 6:26:02 PM
Killer says:
Just take a ride south of the boarder and you will see the missing grain cars.
When I drove to Sioux City Iowa last summer I seen hundreds and hundreds of Canadian grain rail cars.
2/28/2014 6:48:08 PM
grain handler says:
The reason there is a shortage of grain cars is because CN and CP have taken 1000's of them out of service over the last couple of years, with only replacing a small amount of them. CN and CP have also slashed their work in town moving these around to the various elevators,mean well both companies are at a all time high on the stock market. It would be nice if the Federal Goverment and local MP's would stand up for the workers at the railways and elevators.
2/28/2014 7:19:01 PM
BlondeJustice says:
Shipping tar sands oil is more important than shipping grain to a starving populace. Get with the program folks. The coldest winter in how many decades? The Great Lakes frozen over. Grain won't shipping through the Thunder Bay port till June. Not a good scenario for Thunder Bay's economy.
2/28/2014 7:49:21 PM
progress now says:
The Canadian Wheat Board used to co-ordinate things like this, but it was dissolved by the federal government. Does this have something to do with it?
2/28/2014 8:34:52 PM
ring of fire dude says:
It seems lately that a lot of rail cars that pass thru town are oil carrying tankers , maybe there's a shortage of locomotives and crews .
2/28/2014 10:09:07 PM
Eastender says:
A shortage of cars? I dont think so! A reluctance to use available diesel power to make up grain trains is more likely the more realistic scenario. The railways Allocate their diesel power to the trains that pay the highest return, the high class merchandise trains. The bulk trains, like grain and other seeds, get the lowest priority, as the return on tonnage is much much lower. Diesel power is also sometimes leased to other railway companies in the States, for higher return than they could make by hauling grain, thereby creating a shortage for grain trains when the need arises. The power goes where the money is, and CP and CN just thumb their nose at the grain movement. CP rail stock has gone through the roof since Hunter Harrison took the reigns a few years ago. He has made drastic cuts to personel and particularly maintenance. So if there is a shortage of grain hauling capacity, it is most likely Hunter Harrisons management style to blame.
2/28/2014 10:27:07 PM
brooky says:
Hunter Harrison. Look him up if you don't know who he is.
2/28/2014 11:27:27 PM
Eastender says:
Hunter harrison's annual salary, bonuses and stock options? Try 41.9 million.
This was made partly by not shipping low profit grain.
3/2/2014 12:34:49 PM
Ehm _Gee says:
If its only gotta go from Manitoba to here can't it be trucked? Chip trucks could haul grain no?
3/1/2014 6:15:04 AM
yqt says:
One rail car is the equivalent of 4 big rigs. Don't think anyone wants to start paying $10 for a loaf of bread.
3/1/2014 12:38:29 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
How about a pipeline? LOL
3/1/2014 8:12:45 AM
rootbear says:
In the future there will be no fuel for rail. Your fruit and veggies that do get transported in this way will cost $5 and apple and $10 head of lettuce...but that's ok...we got the highest minimum wage.
3/1/2014 9:05:59 AM
tsb says:
It takes four times as much fuel to move goods by truck as it does to move them by rail. On average.

So if we ever see a world where there is no fuel for trains, it will certainly come long after we've run out of fuel for transport trucks.
3/1/2014 12:16:28 PM
mystified says:
Money isn't everything, more so the root of all evil.

Save your seeds because the government is in bed with Monsanto making a deal to create a food growers cartel in which you will be forced to buy their seed yearly because the plants will not produce fertile seeds for next years crop.

Control the masses. Make them dependent. The people want what they don't need.
Downhill in a hand basket we go.
3/1/2014 4:43:13 PM
unknowncronik says:
mmmmmmmmmmmmmm....apples & lettuce!
3/1/2014 4:47:39 PM
SomeGuy says:
You are aware that not all trains need to be powered by diesel fuel right?
3/1/2014 7:13:29 PM
reese says:
For years the rail cars came down the highway over the bridge to the island in pieces to the scrap yard
The scrap yard would know where they sent them
3/1/2014 10:20:22 AM
pc says:
from an article in the Wall Street Journal.

OTTAWA—Canada's Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is threatening railroads with regulations or legislation to clear the grain-shipping backlog, which he blamed partly on increased shipments of crude oil by rail.
3/1/2014 12:52:44 PM
mystified says:
The Canadian Wheat Board had a fleet of grain cars that they decommissioned a few years back. Sending them to the scrap heap took a couple thousand cars out of service.
3/1/2014 2:39:01 PM
Reg says:
The federal conservatives are to blame for this. Sorry but when your in charge its your doings.
3/1/2014 2:53:10 PM
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