With the Ukraine invasion already causing a supply chain snafu, the Seaway is ready for increased demand for Canadian fertilizer and grains.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo by Polina Rytova via Unsplash.com
On March 24, 2022, the St. Lawrence Seaway official opened for its 64th season, and is primed to help take on increased navigation as Canada will seek to stem a shortage of fertilizer and grains caused by sanctions and supply chain disruptions caused by the Russian Federation invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Federation and Ukraine account for a combined 29 percent of the world’s wheat exports, while Russia is one of the larger exporters of fertilizer.
It is expected that with the war, Ukrainian farmers will not be able to plant or harvest; and with sanctions in place Russian or Belarussian ag products will not be allowed to North American consumers.
According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., it is expecting cargo shipments will remain at 38.2 tonnes for 2022 but will increase with a forecasted economic growth (less grain) of four percent.
It has been estimated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that production and exports will be a little bit better in the upcoming crop year. Severe drought affected much of the Prairies in 2021 severely reducing expected ag output.
It is thought that with crop prices expecting to realize string gains this year, Canadian farmers will plant more acreage.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is ready for more transport if Ontario grain continues and if Canadian west and US grain crops come in stronger than expected.
Ontario and US soybeans and corn are also expected to be shipped more in 2022, while the Canadian potash industry (fertilizer) mostly centred in Saskatchewan could take up the slack lost to sanctions on Russia.