NewsBusinessBarry Prentice Says Disruptions Caused Freight Hiccups

    Barry Prentice Says Disruptions Caused Freight Hiccups


    The following piece is from our sister publication, Seed World.

    Lately, North America has lived in a world of supply chain disruptions. Why? COVID has had long-lasting effects on the transportation of freight and grains throughout the continent — even the globe.

    “You can’t ignore macro-economic effects,” says Barry Prentice, director of the Transportation Institute and professor of supply chain management at the University of Manitoba. “We’ve got some really large disturbances that have occurred — the interest rates and inflation in particular.”

    Add in uncertainty from the disruption in Ukraine — a big supplier of grain — and there’s quite a bit of disruption to the supply chain.

    “The railways tell me they’re like meat in the sandwich — they’ve got container problems at the port, and then they’ve got container problems with the receivers because they don’t have the warehouse space,” he adds. “It’s a very unusual time.”

    One exciting thing on the horizon for North American transportation, though? The rail merger of CP Rail and Kansas City Southern — which, in return, might provide a direct rail link from Canada down to Mexico. While the merger hasn’t been approved, it would be a win for grain farmers in particular.

    “It encourages more shipments, and there are no overlaps that are going to be terminated or made redundant,” Prentice says. “It also has an environmental side — with a more efficient rail line, they’ll be able to compete with trucking, which ships more perishable products.”

    Prentice notes that today, you wouldn’t ship items, such as potatoes and carrots, by rail to Mexico today. But with this merger, it would be possible to ship to Mexico in refrigerated containers on the rail line.

    “In the seed business, you’d see seed potatoes in that category,” he says. “I’m sure we see potatoes now to Mexico, but I suspect they’re probably going by truck. Rail is less expensive, and it’ll be a benefit to everyone to have that link.”

    Though this new line won’t fix all of North America’s shipping troubles, Prentice believes this will help stimulate more trade between Mexico and Canada in the long term, but current disruptions remain global.

    “Our supply chain issues are global in terms of their perspective,” he says, adding that right now, the industry is just trying to cope.

    Related Articles

    The Wild West of Canadian Potato Shipping

    U.S. Harvested Potato Acres Down Three Per Cent

    Canadian Potato Production Down from 2021

    Trending This Week

    Potato field at Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

    The P.E.I. Potato Industry is Edging Back to Normal

    After a year of upheaval following a potato wart discovery, P.E.I. has worked hard to regain their spud status. More than a year after potato...
    Potato field being sprayed

    PMRA Potato Products Review Refresher

    With the PMRA having reviewed numerous potato products, it’s important to keep track of what you can and can’t use anymore. Over the past few...
    Freshly emerged potato field

    Fortified Stimulate Yield Enhancer’s (aka Stimulate) Offers 40.4 cwt/acre Marketable Yield and Consistent Benefits

    Drumroll please…. The results are in from this year’s trials and – at a whopping 12.6 to 1 (!!) return on investment – Stimulate’s results...
    Manitoba Potato Production Days 2023 stage

    MPPD Celebrates 50 Years of Potato Memories

    Manitoba Potato Production Days (MPPD) kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with an opening night reception followed by a full day of presentations, demonstrations...
    Solynta's true potato seeds

    Solynta Signs Agreement to Develop True Potato Seeds for Kenya

    Dutch company Solynta has signed an agreement with FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tuber, to collaborate on the development of hybrid true...