Grain elevators in both western and eastern Canada are reporting delays in accessing containers to fill for overseas customers. Regular train traffic is catching up after a series of setbacks this winter — a strike, a rock slide on the western tracks, and then blockades — but container traffic is another beast entirely.
Container traffic is dependent on in-bound containers that originate from China, for the most part. Massive disruptions in commerce there, following an extended Chinese New Year and then COVID-19 lockdowns, will take some time to return to more average volumes says David Przednowek, director of sales and marketing for CN Rail.
Przednowek says that the railway network recovery of grain traffic is well on its way, with last week being the strongest grain movement week of the season so far. That said, there is still a backlog of shipments that the railway will churn through in the coming weeks.
Containerized traffic, however, will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. “It ties back to China,” says Przednowek. “Things are starting to right themselves a little bit there… and there is pent up demand that needs to move;” but how quickly containers begin cycling back in-bound to Canada will depend on how quickly manufacturing in China gets back online.
Listen to the entire interview with CN Rail’s David Przednowek, here:
Grain movement still improving in W Cda. pic.twitter.com/js2K3UgpjO
— Chuck_Penner (@LeftFieldCR) March 19, 2020