Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cold weather could slow down shipments through Port of Prince Rupert

The extended cold snap that we've experienced in Prince Rupert is nothing compared to what they're dealing with on the prairies and into Eastern Canada.

And that inclement weather may have a major effect on shipments of grain and other products through the Port of Prince Rupert in the next few days, and perhaps for more to come.

The Manitoba Co-operator, a news source for grain farmers, grain companies and transportation providers is providing a rather worrisome assessment of the short term situation for the grain industry through the West Coast ports.

From their website, they used a recent week of shipments through Prince Rupert Grain to bring home their point about shipment reductions due to the weather across the West.

Using the port at Prince Rupert, B.C. as an example, Dyck said that in a good week, a steady stream of rail cars filled with grain are unloaded at the facility.

"Last week, there were just over 1,000 rail cars unloaded at the export facility," Dyck said.

"This week that number was expected to decline to around 800 to 850 rail cars due to the slowdown in movement because of the cold."

The cold snap occurred at a bad time, he said, particularly as the CWB sales program was running current with vessel arrivals.

The loading of vessels at the grain and oilseed export facilities at Prince Rupert and Vancouver were both expected to slow because of the reduced rail car movement, Dyck said.

The drop in unloads impacts the ability of shippers to meet requirements at the West Coast, Dyck said.

As recently as Tuesday, Canadian National Railway (CN) on Tuesday temporarily reduced freight service in most areas of Western Canada due to extreme cold and wind conditions.

It will make for a reduction that will eventually find its way to the West Coast as grain and coal shipments become affected by the wrath of nature further down the line.

The full story from the Manitoba Co-operator can be found at this link.
Other reports on cold weather transportation problems can be found below.

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