Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2007.
The global trade of grain using maritime shipping is an activity that has taken place on a large scale for more than a century. It is an activity that involves large volumes and low-profit margins, with shipments being constantly traded. It is not uncommon that a specific shipment will be traded several times while at storage facilities and even while in transit, which can involve rerouting. For countries such as Canada, grain exports have been a strong factor behind the development of inland rail networks as well as port terminals. For ports, this mainly implied the construction of large grain elevator complexes able, through a system of conveyor belts, to load bulk cargo ships.