Canada Markets

Prairie Hopper Car Demand Increasing

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue line on this chart represents the number of hopper cars in demand each week by the largest shippers on the Prairies, seen catching up to the three-year average (grey line) as of week 7. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

Grain shipping in the 2021-22 crop year got off to a slow start with demand for hopper cars falling to as low as 2,894 cars in week 2 (blue line), down 60% from the same week in 2020-21 and 56.3% below the three-year average.

The latest week 7 data shows demand for hoppers at a crop-year high of 8,837 cars for the week, still down a significant 21.6% from last year but down only 489 cars or 5.2% below the three-year average (grey line), despite the significant year-over-year plunge in Prairie production.

The vessel waiting list for the West Coast for week 8 shows 17 cars on the list for Vancouver and an additional two on the list for Prince Rupert, while the total of 19 is down from 24 reported on the week 7 list, is below the one-year average of 27/week and also below the 41 vessels on the week 8 waiting list reported in 2020-21. At the same time, this list is well above the five vessels reported for week 2 and week 3 of this crop year.

Following recent revisions made to AAFC's export forecasts for 2021-22 as seen in their Canada: Outlook for Principal Field Crops released in September, cumulative exports of wheat and durum exports through licensed facilities are 522,000 metric tons (mt) ahead of the steady pace needed to reach the current all-wheat export forecast of 15.6 million metric tons (mmt), while the cumulative pace of pea exports is 136,100 mt ahead of the steady pace to reach the current forecast. Canola exports are off to a slow start, roughly 487,000 mt behind the steady pace needed to reach the current export forecast of 6.5 mmt.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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