Nov. 27, 2012, Halifax, NS - Halifax appears to be benefiting from the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on selling Canadian grain.
Grain exports through Halifax grain elevators have gone up over the last year and a company spokesman believes some of the increase can be attributed to changes at the Wheat Board.
Grain silos in the city are filling up. Many are filled with soybeans from Maritime farms, but some are filling up with grain from Western Canada. The grain from the west will be stored in Halifax and then loaded onto ships.
In 2009, there were no grain exports in the city but things started up again in 2010 and this fall.
"Certainly some of that would have to do with changes in the wheat board, with people looking to see what they are going to do," says Jeff Brownlie of Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd.
After the federal government cancelled the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly in August, western farmers have been free to sell their own crops.
"Moving forward, the transportation decision is now up to whoever is selling. They are not going to have to play by whatever rules are imposed by the wheat board," says Mary Brooks of the Dalhousie School of Business.
"I would expect the market will restructure itself over the next couple of years. In the short term, we'll see experimentation and Halifax may see more business."
Brownlie isn't sure if the loss of the monopoly is just a short-term benefit, but just in case it isn't, he's preparing for long-term business.
"If the changes in the wheat board are going to be beneficial for Halifax and result in increased tonnage, we want to be prepared for it," he says.
Another grain ship is due in Halifax in a few weeks.