Canada Markets

Port of Vancouver Railcar Activity

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
Connect with Cliff:
The blue line represents the daily grain hopper car unloads at the Port of Vancouver during the past month while the brown line represents the number of cars on site. With no cars arriving, activity will quickly grind to a halt. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The AG Transport Coalition's Daily Network Status report shows that no railcars have arrived at the port for a second consecutive day as of Nov. 16 due to rail outages on both CN and CP track due to this week's big weather event. On Nov. 16, 399 cars were unloaded, as indicated by the modest uptick in the blue line, while the brown line shows a drop to 122 cars on site, which indicates the maximum number of cars that can be unloaded when Nov. 17 data is reported.

As seen on the attached chart, the highest level of cars on site reported during the past month is 2,033 cars, reported for Oct. 17.

While not shown on the attached chart, the total number of cars reported as not moving for 48 hours or more across all shipping corridors has swelled to 2,003 cars, of which 1,530 cars are situated in the Vancouver shipping corridor. The Vancouver number is up 60% from the previous day and the highest number reported in close to one month. The coalition report indicates 1,000 cars are situated west of the Alberta/B.C. border but stopped due to outages. Of the 1,530 cars in the corridor, 700 are CN and 823 cars are CN.

Without a continued flow of grain cars, we look at terminal stocks, with the Grain Monitoring Program's Weekly Performance Update pointing to Vancouver terminal stocks totaling 738,600 metric tons in week 14, or the week-ending Nov. 7, which is 16% higher than this time last year and 7% higher than the three-year average for this week. Week 15 data as of Nov. 14 will be released on Nov. 18.

Vancouver shipments totaled 401,500 mt while the four-week average is 470,950 mt. The Port of Vancouver app points to 20 of 66 vessels in the port grain vessels, with five reported at berth and an additional 15 vessels at anchor.

A University of Calgary economist has estimated that the rest of Canada conducts between $300 to $350 million dollars of daily trade over B.C. roads and rail lines. On Wednesday, B.C. Premier John Horgan declared a province-wide state of emergency.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @Cliff Jamieson


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .