CALGARY, AB: The National Farmers Union (NFU) has falsely suggested that the end of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) monopoly has caused this year’s grain shipping problems, says the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
“It’s preposterous to suggest that the move to marketing freedom is the cause of this year’s shipping problems,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “In the first year of an open market, our wheat and barley moved to market without a hitch. The problems being experienced in this second year are instead related to the failure of the railways to provide adequate shipping capacity to move this year’s crop.”
The Wheat Growers note the lack of shipping capacity is affecting the delivery of all crops, not just those crops (i.e. wheat and barley) that the CWB was responsible for marketing. This year, oat shipments to the United States, feedgrain shipments to the Fraser Valley, and wheat, canola and pulse shipments to Vancouver are all being affected by the decision of the railways to dedicate too few resources to shipping grain.
The Wheat Growers note the NFU is claiming rail cars are being used as storage due to the“disorganization at the port”. This statement is utterly false. The Grain Monitor (QuorumCorporation) has confirmed rail cars are being unloaded at port on a timely basis and that portterminals have plenty of capacity to ship more grain. In fact, grain inventories at west coast terminals are lower than normal.
“The terminal capacity is certainly in place to export substantially more grain,” says Wood. “The problem is not at the port – the problem is that not enough grain is being shipped to meet market demand.”
On Monday, the Wheat Growers will be appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food to present our proposals for fixing the structural problems that have caused today’s grain transportation mess.
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.