Grain shipments flow smoothly

The amount of grain that has moved from prairie farms to export terminals so far this year is well-above average, according to figures from Canada’s federal Grain Monitoring Program.

The data show total grain car unloads at port of 14.2 million tonnes so far in the 2015-16 shipping season, including nearly 3.9 million tonnes at Thunder Bay, 2.3 million tonnes at Prince Rupert and 7.9 million tonnes at Vancouver.

The total unload figures cover the first 19 weeks of the current shipping season, from Aug. 1, 2015 to Dec. 22.

At 14.2 million tonnes, total grain car unloads are 15 percent higher than the five-year average, but one percent lower than the same period in 2014-15, the report said.

Total west coast unloads — combining Prince Rupert and Vancouver — are 10.2 million, about 20 percent higher than the five-year average and six percent higher than last year.

Stocks at country elevators have also been running well above average during the past few months.

Capacity in the country elevator system as of Dec. 22 was 83 percent full. Space at elevators was listed as fair by the monitoring program.

Unlike the 2013-14 season, grain shippers and railway operators this year are enjoying a mild winter, with limited competition for rail capacity from other sectors.

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