Rail delays look set to drag into March before there is any realistic prospects of port fluidity recovery. The situation with CN at our container terminals continues to be particularly difficult with vessel delays, a log-jam of containers and extended dwell times, The weather problems across North America were compounded in January ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays when year on year export growth rose to 10.6% in January compared to 4.3% in December. Official figures indicate that exports to North America rose to 10.7% in January, up from 3.0% in December.
In the bulk trades, the number of ships at anchor off the Port of Vancouver at any time is running at between 40-50 and around half that number off Prince Rupert. This is resulting in significant pressure on pilotage and berth scheduling due to the remoteness of many anchorages being forced into use. Here too, we are unlikely to see much improvement for several weeks, particularly for vessels chartered in to load grain where waiting time in excess of one month has become the new unwelcome norm.