Canada Markets

Western Terminal Grain Unloads as of Week 25

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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At 18.175 million metric tons, the receipts of all major grains at western terminals are 7.2% higher than the same period in 2017-18 and 9.1% higher than the five-year average (blue bars). The unloads of wheat at these terminals is the highest achieved over this period (brown bar with markers) at 8.4 mmt, while the volume of canola received is the lowest in four years at 4.86 mmt (black line with markers). (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

As of week 25 or the week ending Jan. 21, prairie producers have delivered 29.629 million metric tons of all grains into licensed handling facilities, up 1.883 mmt or 6.8% from the same period in 2017-18 and 10.8% higher than the five-year average for this period.

Wheat is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the year-over-year increase, with the increase in wheat deliveries up 2.050 mmt or 23.2% from the same period in 2017-18. At the same time, producer deliveries of canola has fallen 597,800 mt or 6% from the same period in 2017-18.

The attached chart highlights the cumulative unloads at western terminals over this 25-week period (blue bars), as compared to the past five years as well as the five-year average. The western terminals include terminals at Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Thunder Bay in British Columbia, while in earlier years, deliveries to Churchill, Manitoba are included. The 18.175 mmt delivered in the 25-week period is 7.2% higher than the same period in 2017-18 while 9.1% higher than the five-year average.

Looking at the major grains, western terminals have received 8.437 mmt of wheat (excluding durum), which is up 23.2% from the same period in 2017-18 and 23.5% higher than the five-year average. Movement of canola has not fared as well, with the 4.860 mmt of canola received by the western terminals down 9.6% from the previous crop year while remaining 3.4% higher than the five-year average for this period.

The fast pace of wheat movement has led to another upward revision in AAFC's January wheat export forecast for 2018/19 by 200,000 mt to 18.7 mmt and a corresponding drop of 200,000 mt in ending stocks to 4 mmt, which would be the lowest level in six years. This represents a 14.9% stocks/disappearance level, which compares the USDA's most recent December global stocks/use ratio of 36%.

Canada's two railways continue to achieve a far superior level of service relative to the 2017-18 crop year. As of week 25, the two railways spotted 88% of the hopper cars wanted for loading, up 1% from the previous week, as reported by the AG Transport Coalition. Service between the two railways diverged this week, with CN spotting 98% of the cars wanted, up from 97% in week 24. At the same time, CP Rail spotted 75% of cars wanted, down from 77% in the previous week. The combined car spot, or 88% of the cars ordered, compares to just 71% realized in the same week of 2017-18.

To further compare week 25 over the two crop years, the most recent report shows 1,253 outstanding orders as of week 25, while a further 2,508, cars have been cancelled or rationed. This time last year, outstanding orders totaled 1,937 cars, while cars cancelled or rationed totaled 11,927.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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