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Great Lakes port strike ending, ag impacts ongoing

A Canadian grain trader says a tentative resolution to the Great Lakes port strike is welcomed news for the agricultural industry.

Ken Whitelaw with Ontario-based Synergy Grain Trading tells Brownfield the eight-day stoppage in the Great Lakes St. Lawerence Seaway has been extremely disruptive.

“We have a small window every year, the seaway closes sometime in December and it’s not really until April that we see it open, so unfortunately with disruptions like this, you know, we just don’t have a way to make up lost time,” he shares.

Union employees are expected to return to work today after a deal was made over the weekend. 

Whitelaw says some farmers stopped harvesting soybeans because of price and transportation uncertainty last week.

“On the soybean front, we’ve probably seen basis under pressure about $0.20 a bushel US. And I’m sure this morning, if there hadn’t been an agreement reached yesterday, that would have fallen off almost daily, potentially to no bid this week. And we did see corn values basically go no bid.

Whitelaw says the freight market was tight before the strike. He expects the backlog throughout the seaway to limit what commodities can be exported before it closes for the winter.

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