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FILE PHOTO: Cargo ship lie at anchor in English Bay outside the Port of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Rain in Canada Deals Latest Blow to Global Grain Trade

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November 4, 2022

By Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg) —

Thousands of tons of wheat and canola is stranded in Canada after rain has hampered deliveries at the country’s largest port during peak shipping season.

Grain terminals in Vancouver are having trouble loading and unloading grain amid heavy, persistent rain in British Columbia, creating a backlog of trains that are unable to deliver to the port, said David Przednowek, assistant vice president of grain for Canadian National Railway Co. At least 12 fully-loaded unit trains, carrying more than 100,000 tons, are parked on the Prairies waiting to deliver, he said.

“Nobody wants to see those trains idle,” Przednowek said Friday by phone. “Everybody wants to move it. We just can’t.”

So far this month, 2.42 centimeters (0.95 inch) have fallen in Vancouver, following 8.87 centimeters in October –all of which fell in the last 11 days of the month, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

The situation is an about-face for Canada’s largest railway, which moved record tons of grain in October and comes just as Canadian farmers have harvested one of the biggest wheat crops ever. In the US, low water levels along the Mississippi River have hampered shipments of corn and soybeans, threatening to cause a buildup of supplies. The world is looking to North America and elsewhere to replace shipments of grains and sunflower oil from the Black Sea that have been curbed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

–With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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