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Palouser
Senior Advisor

Shipping 'chaos' at Vancouver BC

Many US producers may not understand the importance of Vancouver in shipping grain. It is a constricted port but very protected where the Frazier River meets the sea just north of the US border. For those who like to explore Vancouver is one of the most interesting cosmopolitan cities in the world in an exceedingly beautiful spot. All facets of the past British Empire and the Pacific Rim are here.

 

Vancouver is now exporting 20 MMT of grain a year. The wait for ships is now up to 60 days for loading. Sound familiar? Partly it is the booming grain business around the Pacific Rim. All the grain comes into the geographically constricted area on two railroads, and having toured the export facilities in the past I know the rail has few opportunities to shunt cars and that grain coming in must be unloaded to clear the tracks to relieve the congestion. With the demand for grain cars exceeding supply on the Prairies because of increased production of a larger variety of grain crops it is becoming a logistical problem. Cars with loads of unneeded varieties or crops in the mix that aren't needed for off loading to ships must be unloaded anyway to get them out of the way in Vancouver, etc.

 

http://www.producer.com/2013/11/more-grain-delivery-errors-put-west-coast-port-in-chaos/

 

The Portland District in the Columbia River (I include Seattle in that mix as a minor shipper) is nearby and it ships more than 1/2 the exported wheat for the US and yet it is shipping more corn and beans from the Midwest than wheat. Business is booming and new terminals are/will be needed. Canadian unit trains moving into the area are standard but maxxing out capacity must be an issue.

 

I feel sorry for crews on ships that are anchored off shore in the Vancouver area in winter as it is rough water. Ships seek shelter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca between the mainland of Canada,US, and Vancouver Island.

 

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Palouser
Senior Advisor

Re: Shipping 'chaos' at Vancouver BC

In addition there is a terminal further north in the wilds of the BC coast called Prince Rupert. There isn't much up that way except huge mountains, glaciers and the Inside Passage up the coast. One ,ight go up as a jumping off point to fish for salmon or  halibut.

 

It may have room for expansion - if cars are available.

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