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Update on impact of rail disruptions to supply chain MAR 23 2020 | Producers | Blog Post

(Daily updates will be available on the Alberta Pulse Growers website.)

Pulse Canada and the CSCA are partners of the Ag Transport Coalition (ATC)*, which tracks performance of the Canadian railway network for the movement of grain. The following is an excerpt of a report that has been created to provide stakeholders with insight on the performance of the Canadian rail system as it attempts to recover from a series of physical network disruptions in the months of January and February 2020.

The railway performance data reported reflects the performance of rail shipments specifically for grain shippers participating in the Ag Transport Coalition’s railway performance measurement program – estimated to encompass approximately 90‐95% of western Canadian originated grain shipments by rail. The ATC produces a Daily Network Status Report, which includes information and data on the status of the rail network as of midnight the previous day, and a Weekly Railway Performance Report, which provides detailed metrics on rail network performance for the week and the current grain year across a range of key indicators.

Loads on Wheels

· Traffic levels declined slightly on a system basis yesterday reflecting an increase on CN and a slight decline on CP.

· The increase on CN reflects increases in the eastern Canada and Vancouver corridors offset by lower volumes in the Prince Rupert corridor.

· CP reflects the inverse of this, with declines overnight in both of these corridors.

Loads Not Moving

· Loads sitting idle for more than 48 hours dipped slightly overnight reflecting reduced counts on CP offset to some extent by higher counts on CN.

· Last week CN saw the average daily count of idle cars increase for the first time in six weeks; CP counts continued their downward trend however after having reduced counts to the lowest level in more than 6 weeks in the early part of last week, CP saw counts more than double to more than 1,000 cars at the tail end of last week.

Port Unloads

· West coast port unloads declined yesterday – not uncharacteristic of Sunday unloads ‐ reflecting lower unloads at both Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

· Vessel line ups were unchanged overnight but finished out last week at the lowest levels seen in six weeks reflecting improvements at both ports.

· With no scheduled arrivals at Prince Rupert over the next two weeks and despite lower traffic volumes destined to the Port, it is expected that further improvement in this area is realistic; Vancouver on the other hand has 14 vessels scheduled for arrival over the next two weeks which when combined with essentially flat volumes en route to the Port will present challenges in achieving meaningful reductions in this areas.

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* The Ag Transportation Coalition is comprised of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA), Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Pulse Canada, Manitoba Pulse Growers Association (MPGA), Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Inland Terminal Association of Canada (ITAC) and the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA).