Home Crop Monitoring Railways backlogged by B.C. wildfires, with harvest looming

Railways backlogged by B.C. wildfires, with harvest looming

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Replace, as of July 14: Each CN and CP as soon as once more halted site visitors within the space round Lytton, B.C. on Wednesday attributable to new fires east of the group.

“For the safety of our crews, we are not currently running trains between Kamloops and Lytton, B.C.,” says CN in a community replace distributed July 14. “At this time, we have no estimate on when we will be authorized to operate trains.”

“There are also fires raging very close to our track on the Lillooet line running from Vancouver to Prince George via Squamish, and as a result, we will not be running a train today on that line.”

The clock is ticking for CN Rail and CP Rail to clear the rail backlog that has piled up, because the wildfires in southern B.C. have halted prepare site visitors via Canada’s busiest rail hall.

CN mentioned it deliberate to renew site visitors on its mainline within the night of July 13 — a full two weeks after the devastating June 30 hearth broken the railway, together with a bridge close to the city of Lytton.

“In coordination with local authorities and First Nations, CN staff have inspected the area and carried out repairs on a bridge that is vital to the passage of railway traffic through southern B.C.,” mentioned CN in a press release issued Tuesday. “The repair work has progressed safely, and we expect the track to be ready for the resumption of traffic by 1900 PT today, July 13.”

Site visitors was additionally shut down on CP’s mainline for nearly per week. CP trains began rolling via the world on July 5, earlier than coming to a halt once more when Transport Canada issued a 48-hour ban on rail site visitors on July 9.

From a grain transport perspective, the fires have occurred through the slowest time of yr, however the interruption in service has already had an influence on motion to Vancouver, making a cascading impact as grain firms pay vessel demurrage and contract penalties whereas ready for trains to reach.

“We’re seeing about 300 cars arriving into Vancouver daily right now. Before the fires, we were seeing 600 to 800 a day going into Vancouver,” explains Greg Northey, vice-president of company affairs for Pulse Canada and host of the Grain by Practice podcast, within the interview under.

On the similar time, the variety of empty hopper vehicles unable to make the return journey east has additionally ballooned, which can seemingly lead to increased unfulfilled automotive orders at Prairie elevators within the coming weeks.

With CN showing to renew operations this week, the massive query concerning the influence from the wildfires is: will the backlog be cleared in time for harvest, when demand for rail capability for grain peaks?

“It’s going to really depend on how quickly CN can get their line up, how quickly they can move through the backlog that exists now to make sure they’re ready and everything’s reset for the grain year, and it’s going to depend on the weather,” says Northey.

The federal transport minister has ordered CN and CP to implement a set of measures to mitigate the danger of fireside, which incorporates working trains at slower speeds when temperatures and hearth threat are excessive. These measures might probably additionally influence new crop grain motion, nevertheless it’s unlikely temperatures will attain the identical highs in fall.

“It’s really about how the recovery happens now,” says Northey. “If we hit September, when a lot of product comes online, and they’re still clearing out the backlog, it really puts you behind the eight ball as far as service for the rest of the year.”

In fact, the grain provide chain can be paying shut consideration to the drought on the Prairies, and what it means for rail capability demand over the approaching crop yr. It’s vital that everybody within the provide chain is speaking with one another, says Northey.

Take heed to Greg Northey’s dialog with Shaun Haney, discussing the state of grain transportation, together with: the influence of the wildfires in B.C., how the drought impacts logistics planning, and U.S. President Biden’s government order which goals to advertise competitors in rail and ocean freight:

Associated: Railway wildfire prevention measures will lengthen into grain transport season

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