Canada Markets

Country Elevator Stocks as CN Ramps-Up Movement

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Week 16 primary elevator grain stocks were reported 3.7% higher than the three-year average, with above average stocks held in Saskatchewan and Alberta elevators, measured against the primary vertical axis. The black line with markers represents this volume as a percent of working capacity, against the secondary vertical axis. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

Despite the recent CN strike, the Canadian Grain Commission's week 16 statistics, covering activity for the week-ending Nov.24 shows that producers delivered 1.362 million metric tons of all grains into licensed facilities, the largest weekly deliveries reported in four weeks.

Primary elevator shipping for all grains was reported at 835,100 metric tons in week 16, down 17.7% from the previous week and 20.5% below the previous four-week average. The CN strike was largely behind this decline in activity.

Primary elevator stocks of all grains swelled to 3.7068 mmt in week 16, higher for the second week and the highest weekly stocks reported this crop year. This is up 3.7% from the previous three-year average.

The attached chart shows primary elevator stocks by province, which show elevator stocks in Manitoba 13.2% below the three-year average and British Columbia stocks are 6.8% below the three-year average. Higher-than-average stocks shows Saskatchewan stocks 7.5% higher than average at 1.945 mmt and Alberta stocks 10.9% higher-than-average at 1.0567 mmt.

When compared to the estimated working capacity as calculated by Quorum Corporation in their Weekly Performance Update, Manitoba stocks represent 65.1% of provincial working capacity, Saskatchewan at 74.1%, Alberta at 76.2% and British Columbia at 100%. Overall, prairie stocks represent a comfortable 73% of estimated working capacity.

CN Rail has stated to the Financial Post that it will take between one and four weeks to clear the backlog in cars, although will depend on how customers are located relative to operating yards and how often they would normally receive service.

The AG Transport Coalition's Daily Pipeline Status report as of near midnight on Nov. 28 shows total loads on wheels for the two major railways at 11,150 cars, or 1% below the 30-day average. This volume is up for the fourth consecutive day, with CN reported to increase the volume on wheels for four consecutive days to 6,548 cars, the highest level reported in one month in daily data.

As well, the count of cars not moving has been sharply reduced. Overall, this count has fallen to 3,198 for the two railways, which remains 10% higher than the 30-day moving average. CN's idle car count has fallen from a reported high or 4,582 cars on Nov. 24 to 2,130 cars on Nov. 28.


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