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Prairie Networks Past & Present - Grain Transportation in Western Canada Prairie Networks Past & Present - Grain Transportation in Western Canada
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An aerial view showing rail, terminal elevator and rail lines
An aerial view showing rail, terminal elevator and rail lines
Photo by Jerry Bielicki, provided courtesy of the Canadian Wheat Board, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Marine freight transportation is a major segment of the logistics chain that gets grain from prairie fields to its international consumer. Canadian grain is moved by rail to wharf-side terminal elevators at tidewater or Great Lakes ports, then loaded onto ships. The volume moved by ships and the port of destination varies depending on market requirements.

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Grain being handled in a foreign port
Grain being handled in a foreign port
Saskatchewan Archives Board, Regina, R-A15194-2

Grain that has been off-loaded from an ocean going vessel into foreign handling facilities is transferred to a barge, road or rail equipment for onward, inland transport. Canada would not be able to market high volumes of grain without ocean transportation. Because grain has a low value per tonne, the slow but relatively low-cost transportation provided by ships is essential for grain sales in the overseas markets.

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