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Grain Backlog Costing Thousands Per Day

APAS President: Railways will be responsible for paying the bill

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The current grain backlog is costing farmers $11,000 to $13,000 a day in demurrage fees as ships wait at port for grain according to a report at Disscover Humboldt.

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan President Todd Lewis has written to the Federal Ag Minister and Transport Minister asking that railways be held responsible for paying the bill.

It has been noted that there is more grain in storage in the elevator system than at any other time in history.

There are now 30 ships stuck at ports in British Columbia because of delayed grain shipments from Canadian farmers.

Lewis says it’s going to take a long time to dig out of this one.

"Producers are sitting on contracts that were supposed to be delivered in November, December, even October," he said.

"The fact of the matter is that we're going to have road bans. As soon as the sun starts to shine, the rural municipalities are going to have to put the road bans on to protect the infrastructure in the countryside and also more producers yards won't be able to load a grain truck or a semi."

Spring bans are currently on hold in the province as cold temperatures have returned.

APAS is proposing that in any week that grain shipments fall below 85% on hopper car deliveries, both railways share the cost of demurrage and that these payments be retroactive to January 1, 2018, when the problems became severe.

An amended version of Bill C-49 has been passed through Senate, and will need to pass the House of Commons before becoming law. The next sitting is April 16.

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