Moving Grain: Lock Closure For Columbia, Snake Rivers Begins in March

Mississippi River Lock and Dam number 7 - From USGS

2018 Annual Maintenance Navigation Lock Closure For Columbia and Snake Rivers Begins in March

In March, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close several locks on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for annual maintenance. The affected locks include: Bonneville Lock & Dam (L&D), The Dalles L&D, John Day L&D, and McNary L&D on the Columbia River; and Ice Harbor L&D, Lower Monumental L&D, Little Goose L&D and Lower Granite L&D on the Snake River.

All these locks will close on March 3. Bonneville, McNary, Ice Harbor, and Lower Monumental will reopen on March 18, while The Dalles, John Day, Little Goose, and Lower Granite will reopen on March 25.The Columbia-Snake River System supports more than 49 million tons of international trade, as well as more than 40,000 local jobs connected to trade, according to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Union Pacific Begins Construction on Brazos Yard

The Union Pacific’s (UP) new Brazos facility, which is currently under construction in Robertson County, TX, will be a classification yard able to switch up to 1,300 rail cars per day. Once completed, it will be one of the highest capacity yards on UP’s network. In announcing the facility, UP noted the facility is poised to address customer demand and economic growth across the region and said the location is strategic for sending and receiving shipments across its network, including cross border movements.

UP said the $550 million rail yard is the largest capital investment in a single facility at any point during its history and will feature the latest operating efficiency, technology, and innovation.

Grain Inspections Up; Pacific Northwest Remains Above Average

For the week ending February 1, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export, from all major U.S. export regions, reached 2.88 million metric tons (mmt); up 5 percent from the previous week, down 19 percent from last year, and 9 percent above the 3-year average.

Inspections of corn and soybeans were up from the previous week, increasing 6 and 22 percent, respectively. Soybean shipments to Asia rebounded from the past week. Wheat inspections, however, dropped 26 percent from the past week.

Pacific Northwest grain inspections increased 19 percent from the previous week and remained well above average. Mississippi Gulf inspections decreased 6 percent from the past week. Outstanding (unshipped) export sales were up from the previous week for corn, but down for wheat and soybeans.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending January 25, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 33.9 mmt; down 13 percent from the same time last year. Net weekly wheat export sales were .289 mmt, down 32 percent from the previous week. Net corn export sales were 1.85 mmt; up 28 from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were .359 mmt for the same period; down 42 percent from the previous week.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 22,538 grain carloads for the week ending January 27,;down 3 percent from the previous week, down 1 percent from last year, and down 2 percent from the 3-year average.

Average February shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $66 above tariff for the week ending February 1; down $129 from last week, and $1,051 lower than last year. Average non-shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers were $19 above tariff; $231 lower than last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers last week.

Barge

For the week ending February 3, barge grain movements totaled 664,089 tons; 25 percent higher than the previous week and down 10 percent from the same period last year.

For the week ending February 3, 409 grain barges moved down river, up 28 percent from last week. There were 914 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans; 17 percent higher than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending February 1, 40 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 15 percent less than the same period last year. Sixty-two vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days, 5 percent less than the same period last year.

For the week ending February 1, the ocean freight rate for shipping bulk grain from the Gulf to Japan was $44.25 per metric ton; 1 percent less than the previous week. The cost of shipping from the PNW to Japan was $24.50 per metric ton; 2 percent less than the previous week.

Fuel

During the week ending February 5, average diesel fuel prices increased 2 cents from previous week at $3.09 per gallon; 53 cents higher than the same week last year.

Full report.


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