Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prairie farmers frustrated by railways

Canada’s Prairie farmers are frustrated by the lack of performance by railway companies that are, under federal government policy, obligated to move grain to export ports.

The situation is so bad now that British Columbia harbours are clogged with empty ships waiting for grain-hauling trains to arrive.

For several days there have been as many as 35 ships at anchor around the Port of Vancouver and another handful at Port of Prince Rupert awaiting trains to arrive with wheat, canola and other western crops destined for overseas buyers, reports the Globe and Mail.

Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber of Shipping in Vancouver, said the slowdown in rail shipments means vessels are being forced up to a month before their holds are filled with grain. One vessel arrived on Dec. 31 and had to wait until last weekend for its cargo, he said.

"We're seeing a lag effect of congestion in the supply chain on land, largely related to rail, now starting to impact the coast," Mr. Lewis-Manning said by phone. "And you could see this could back up even further. I have little doubt that there are vessels en route to Canada and when they get here and there's no place to wait they're going to be loitering off the coast, and that's a situation we don't want."