Thunder Bay — An innovative network of Prairie farm-based weather stations is now monitoring grain-loading conditions for vessels at ports.
The CWB has installed a WeatherBug® weather station above the loading dock of Thunder Bay’s Mission Terminal, where it will keep track of live conditions, like rainfall and wind speed, that affect loading of Prairie grain onto ships.
"The rate of rain is the important factor when deciding whether a ship can open its hatches to load," said Mission Terminal manager Paul Kennedy. "This weather station has a real purpose in terms of our business operations. The more efficient we can be in managing loading times, the better for everyone."
Additional benefits for port authorities and shipping lines include leveraging localized weather conditions for port forecasting, which can improve planning of stevedore hires and decrease charges or penalties incurred for delays due to weather.
CWB weather network manager Guy Ash said farmers also benefit from loading efficiencies that improve service to grain customers and keep costs down. "Our vision for this weather network is to help farmers maximize their returns all along the supply chain," he said. "That’s why we’re working with our partners to expand it from Prairie farms and grain elevators to ports. For the grain industry, it’s extremely important at every stage to access weather reports that are highly localized and immediate."
Richardson International Limited installed WeatherBug weather stations last summer at all its port loading facilities, which include Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Hamilton and Sorel,
Quebec – expanding from 60 weather monitors already installed at Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres across Western Canada.
"By collecting and sharing data from the weather stations, we are better positioned to help producers with important crop management decisions and improve our operations in grain sourcing and shipping," said Kevin Jacobson, Director, Corporate Communications for Richardson International. "It solidifies Richardson’s ongoing commitment to develop the most efficient pipeline of grain movement in Western Canada."
The CWB, WeatherBug Professional and Richardson International launched the weather network in August 2007. Since then, it has grown rapidly to encompass almost 500 stations across the Prairies. WeatherBug director of business development, Jim Anderson, said the move to ports is a natural evolution.
"With the continued support of our partners in Canada, we can build a national network that not only helps farmers, but also schools, emergency managers, media outlets and other businesses," he said. "WeatherBug networking technology has been proven to yield breakthrough benefits for business operations and help safeguard property and lives.
"We have the technology to revolutionize the way weather information is gathered and shared in Canada."
More information related to the WeatherBug initiative in Western Canada can be found at cwb.ca, weatherbug.com and richardson.ca.
WeatherBug (http://www.weatherbug.com and http://www.weatherbugprofessional.com) precisely monitors, organizes and disseminates global weather information. As a trusted source for live, local dynamic data, WeatherBug empowers society with weather intelligence for making more informed decisions. Millions of consumers and professional organizations, including the National Weather Service, rely on WeatherBug to plan daily activities, safeguard lives and improve business operations. WeatherBug is a brand of AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. (http://www.aws.com)