Canada Markets

Demand for Hopper Cars Steady

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The AG Transport Coalition reports the demand for hopper cars for major grain shippers at 4,008 cars in week 48, or the week ending July 3 (blue line), with demand below the same week for 2020-21 (brown line) and the three-year average (grey line). (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The AG Transport Coalition's Weekly Performance Update for week 48 or the week ending July 3 shows the demand for hopper cars for loading on the Prairies at 4,008 cars (blue line), down 29% from the same week in 2021-22 (brown line) and down 50% from the three-year average (grey line).

At the same time, demand has remained relatively steady during recent weeks while late-crop year demand typically declines through the latter weeks of the crop year ending July 31. In 2020-21 (brown line), there was a decline from the week 45 high of 7,100 cars to 4,828 cars in week 52, or a decline of 32%. A similar move is seen with the three-year average or grey line, which reached a high of 8,816 cars in week 46 to a low of 6,179 cars by week 52, or a drop of 30%.

Demand may also remain steady through the balance of the crop year. Despite crop year supplies of all principal field crops that are estimated 25% lower in 2021-22 from the year prior, commercial stocks of grain instore primary elevators remain relatively close to the volume reported for the same week in recent years. As of week 48, commercial stocks instore primary elevators are reported at 2.6769 million metric tons (mmt), down 11.7% from the same week in 2020-21 and down only 5.6% from the three-year average for this week. This volume is higher that the volume reported for the same week in 2018-19.

Another sign is the AG Transport Coalition's Daily Pipeline Status report as of 23:59 on July 10. This report points to week 49 activity resulting in an average of more than 4,800 loads on wheels, or the second-highest level reported in two months. After one day in week 50, there was 4,376 loads on wheels.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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