Canada Markets

Grain Shipping May be Poised for a Rebound

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue line represents the weekly demand for shipping by the largest prairie grain shippers, while is compared to the three-year average (brown line), measured against the primary vertical axis. The green bars represent the percent of cars spotted in the week wanted by the two largest railways, plotted against the secondary vertical axis. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The AG Transport Coalition Weekly Performance Update shows the demand for hopper cars for loading falling to 7,209 hopper cars in week 31 (blue line on attached chart), the lowest demand reported in nine weeks and 11.4% below the four-week average of cars of 8,138 cars. This is well above the demand of 2,662 cars for the same week of 2021-22 and the three-year average for this week of 6,725 cars.

During the past three years (2019-20 through 2021-22), the demand for shipping reached a seasonal low between week 27 and week 31, or week 28 on average. A spring high was reached from week 36 through week 39 during these crop years, or week 39 on average. The three-year average data shows the weekly demand for loading cars increasing from 6,262 cars/week in week 28 to 8,354 cars/week in week 39, or 33%.

The green bars highlight the struggle the two major railways have faced in providing timely service. In week 31, the two railways spotted 76% of the cars wanted for loading during the shipping week, which is up six percentage points from the previous week and only one point higher than the four-week average. This combined percentage has not been reported above 80% for more than two consecutive weeks since week 11 and has not been above 90%, which the AG Transport Coalition views as a performance threshold.

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