Moving Grain: $1Bln Available for Infrastructure Projects

    Photo: Iowa Farm Bureau

    DOT Announces $1 Billion in Competitive Grant Funding for Infrastructure Projects

    On April 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a notice of funding opportunity for applications to the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program.

    Previously known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grants, the RAISE program will provide $1 billion in discretionary grant funding. Its funding opportunities serve projects that are multi-modal (rail, transit, and port) and multi-jurisdictional at the State and local levels.

    Grant applications will be evaluated on merit criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. The deadline to submit an application is July 12, 2021, at 5 pm Eastern.

    Panama Canal’s Neopanamax Locks Have Expanded Shipping Routes Since Opening in 2016

    According to the Panama Canal Authority, global commerce has measurably improved since the Canal’s Neopanamax locks opened in 2016. Since then, the Canal began serving 36 new maritime routes, which connect an additional 220 ports and 10 countries.

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    In total, the Canal serves 180 maritime routes and links 1,920 ports across 170 countries. The Canal’s top user is the United States, followed by China and Japan.

    Dry bulk cargo, such as soybeans, corn, and other grains are main commodities that transit the Canal. Most of the Canal’s grain shipments originate in the U.S. Gulf and are destined for China, the West Coast of South America, Japan, or the West Coast of Central America. Over the last few months, U.S. grain exports through the Canal have increased with surging Chinese soybean demand for livestock and poultry feed.

    Canadian National Bids for Kansas City Southern

    Canadian National Railway (CN) recently offered $33.7 billion to acquire Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS). CN’s offer follows an offer in March by Canadian Pacific Railway to acquire KCS for $29 billion. It is not yet clear how KCS will respond to the two offers.

    CN has sent an initial filing to the Surface Transportation Board, indicating it plans to apply formally, in 3 to 6 months, for authority to combine with KCS.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending April 8, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 38.6 million metric tons (mmt). This was 6 percent lower than last week, but still represented a significant increase in outstanding sales from the same time last year.

    Net corn export sales were 0.328 mmt, down 57 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.090 mmt, down significantly from the previous week. Net wheat export sales were −0.057 mmt, significantly down from the previous week.


    U.S. Class I railroads originated 24,347 grain carloads during the week ending April 10. This was a 5-percent decrease from the previous week, 10 percent more than last year, and 6 percent more than the 3-year average.

    Average May shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $92 above tariff for the week ending April 15. This was $33 less than last week and $140 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.


    For the week ending April 17, barge grain movements totaled 798,298 tons. This was 12 percent lower than the previous week and 21 percent higher than the same period last year.

    For the week ending April 17, 505 grain barges moved down river—100 barges fewer than the previous week. There were 626 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 3 percent fewer than the previous week.


    For the week ending April 15, 33 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—7 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting April 16, 2021), 49 vessels were expected to be loaded—23 percent more than the same period last year.

    As of April 15, the rate for shipping a metric ton of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $58.00. This was 5 percent less than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $34.00 per metric ton, 4 percent less than the previous week.


    For the week ending April 19, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased 0.5 cents from the previous week to $3.124 per gallon, 64.4 cents above the same week last year.

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