Oil, durum fight for rail cars in North Dakota

CALGARY — U.S. durum growers aren’t just dealing with the usual railway snags that increased oil shipments have caused to all western grain movement.

They find themselves in the epicentre of the explosion of U.S. oil production in North Dakota.

“That’s an interesting area because it’s the heart of U.S. durum, (and) it’s also the heart of Bakken oil drilling,” Informa Economics’ market analyst Chris Ferris told his firm’s annual Canadian market outlook conference.

“You’ve got all kinds of little issues going on with that.”

This dual concentration increases the likelihood that the demand for cars from local grain elevators will collide with demand for cars to ship crude oil.

The U.S. railway system is already congested and facing a lot of stress this year, and the local complication won’t please durum growers and shippers.

“That’s going to cause a few issues this year,” said Ferris.

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