The Canadian grain harvest is expected to be the third-largest in the country’s history, increasing 42% since last year. Last year’s harvest saw ample service disruptions and delays, due to fires, flooding, and other weather conditions. This year, with 27 million metric tons on the line, we’re predicting even more disruptions than ever before.

The railroads, however, disagree. CP stated it’s “well-positioned to meet the transportation needs of our grain customers and the broader Canadian economy during the 2022–2023 crop year.” But if last year’s performance is indicative of things to come, we’re predicting a total “grain meltdown” for 2022.

What exactly do we mean by “meltdown”? We predict the 2022 grain demand will add at least two additional trains per day to Vancouver, requiring additional crews across seven crew districts. Shipments could be delayed so long that they surpass the current crop year. Grain will take capacity from other commodities. Given that train volume has only reached this high of a level 39 days over the last year, we don’t foresee the railroads being equipped to handle these numbers. Furthermore, CP and CN have yet to announce any plans to handle the additional Vancouver volume.

Our network of sensors now covers all of Canada, which puts us in the unique position of providing data to which no one but our subscribers has access. Each Wednesday, we’ll release a report detailing what information our sensors have captured regarding Canada’s grain shipments. We’ll act as the single source of truth for this crisis, proving how crucial rail network visibility is to shippers. We hope our data will help shippers optimize their operations throughout this crisis.

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Chart of grain meltdown september 20
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