While I was a farmer-elected CWB director I would get calls from concerned farmers whenever a few ships were waiting for grain at the Port of Vancouver. Although this did not happen often, farmers wanted to be sure any demurrage for these waiting ships was kept to a minimum. In most years the CWB got the ships out early and actually got paid “despatch” before any demurrage could be charged!
But last week there were 26 ships waiting at Vancouver and another nine at Prince Rupert. This week there are approximately 28 ships and another nine respectively. So why are CWB critics like John DePape, Larry Weber and Kevin Hursh apparently silent on this private sector failure now? Don’t they care that farmers will be the ones paying for demurrage? Or do they believe the fantasy peddled by former Ag Minister Ritz that farmers have no further costs after they drop their grain at the elevator pit. This simplistic view must assume that any costs after the pit, are borne by the tooth fairy! However, farmers who did not drink the Conservative Kool-Aid know the grain companies simply lower the farm gate price to pay for all those ships sitting there.
Remember how the previous agricultural minister predicted that with market freedom farmers would not have to start their grain augers in January? It looks like that is one of the few things he got correct, because now there probably won’t be any decent grain movement until after April.
The present government doesn’t seem to be doing much other than monitoring rail traffic, and there is certainly no mandatory transparent price discovery. No one seems to understand that the railways and grain companies each have a monopoly on their sector and the farmers have…nothing!