No grain in the rain

Most Canadians know it rains a lot in Vancouver, but what you might not know is that every time it does, Canada’s grain supply chain essentially comes to a screeching halt. 

Driving the news: Most of Vancouver’s grain terminals don’t load grain when it’s raining to prevent it from rotting before its final destination (makes sense), but exporters, railways, and shippers are saying the outdated practice is eating into their profits (also fair).

  • In the 17 years since Transport Canada banned a previously-used method of loading grain in the rain, exporters and workers have failed to agree a method to replace it. 

Why it matters: Vancouver moves about 5.2 million tonnes of grain annually, navigating around an average of 165 rainy days a year. Between all these rainy days P&H, one of Canada’s largest grain exporters, estimates it loses 30 to 40 days of productivity. 

Bottom line: This year has seen a huge rebound for Canadian grain harvests. With self-inflicted supply chain snarls in place, Canadian farmers can’t fully reap the benefits of their strong crops, and Canadian grain is having a harder time helping out global shortages.