Moving Grain: Trucking Association Publishes Rail Turn Times

Photo by Ken Hammond, USDA

Illinois Trucking Association Publishes Rail Turn Times

Truckers servicing rail hubs in the Chicago region have begun publishing monthly rail turn times to highlight the impact of terminal congestion on shippers. According to a recent Journal of Commerce article, Chicago has experienced two consecutive winters of poor performance and associated container logistics problems in the Midwest hub.

Measuring the data and comparing the results will allow both shippers and truckers to evaluate railroads’ efficiency. Shippers will be able to make routing decisions based on the information and pressure underperforming railroads to address inefficiencies.

A similar project, by the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA), monitors turn times in Southern California and allows HTA to work with terminal operators to improve their numbers. Both groups are using GeoStamp, which utilizes geofencing technology to measure all aspects of a turn. The majority of U.S. containerized grain exports transit the Chicago region.

Grain Inspections Down from Previous W eek

For the week ending June 13, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 1.75 million metric tons (mmt). This amount indicates a 17 percent decrease from the previous week, a 41 percent drop from last year, and a 24 percent decrease from the 3-year average.

Weekly inspections dropped 21 percent for wheat; 23 percent for corn; and 8 percent for soybeans. During the last four weeks, grain inspections were 25 percent below last year and 12 percent below the 3-year average. Inspections of grain decreased 17 percent from the previous week in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), and decreased 15 percent in the Mississippi Gulf.

Average Diesel Fuel Prices Show Downward Trend

During the week ending June 17, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased 3.5 cents from the previous week to $3.07 per gallon. This price is 17.4 cents less than the same week last year. Since the beginning of May, diesel prices have fallen 9.9 cents. Crude oil futures prices have followed a similar pattern, dropping 12 percent since the beginning of May.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending June 6, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 24.2 mmt. This indicates a 17 percent decrease in outstanding sales, compared to the same time last year. Net weekly wheat export sales reached .048 mmt, up significantly from the from the previous week. Net corn export sales rebounded from the previous week as well, reaching .169 mmt. Net soybean export sales totaled .256 mmt, down 50 percent from the past week.

Grain News on AgFax


Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 21,213 grain carloads for the week ending June 8. This is a 2 percent increase from the previous week, 9 percent lower than last year, and 4 percent below the 3-year average.

Average June shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $225 above tariff for the week ending June 13. This is $114 less than last week and $138 lower than last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

Barge

For the week ending June 15, barge grain movements totaled 329,386 tons. This is a 29 percent increase from the previous week and a 72 percent decrease from the same period last year.

For the week ending June 15, 188 grain barges moved down river. This is 43 more barges than the previous week. There were 349 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 9 percent fewer than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending June 13, 24 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf. This is 20 percent fewer than the same period last year. Forty-three vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days. This is 9 percent fewer than the same period last year.

As of June 13, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $43.25. This is 1 percent less than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $23.70 per mt, a 1 percent decrease from the previous week.

Full report.


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