Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 30, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuitdffy, Jonuory 10, 1973 THE HERAU) Wheat bottleneck strangle U.S. ports By Ltwls M. Phelps, Will Street Journal slafl reporter CHICAGO Railroads are choking on the grain being ship- ped to Russia. The grain-moving problems are going from bad to wo-se, and it's likely the transporta- tion tangle will foul up ship- ment of other products in com- ing months. Among o'.her thir.gs. this could hamper ef- forts to brake fast-rising food prices. An estimated 410.3 million bushels of wheat were sold 10 Pussia under a government ex- port subsidy program: the sub- sidies expire in "May. But with less than five months remain- ing, nearly three-fourths of the Truest is s'-ill sitting in the U.S. (there is no subsidy t'me-'invt for sn additional 223.8 million bushels of wheat. 23 million bushels of feed grains anJ 40 million bushels of soybeans that exporters figure Russia al s o bought, but these shipments are on a tight timetable, too.' The subsidy period may well bs e-vtended. government sour- ces hint. But "it's going to he at least until the end of the year before we get all this grain moved." says an official of a grain-hsuling rai'rosd. "Rail-car shortages, car-ser- vice embargoes, iogiams ard delays portray a bleak picture with no relief in sight." says tb? gTEin-shipmert task force of the National Grain and Feed Association. The task force, which has been monitoring the logistics of massive grain movement for four months, calls the transportation situa- tion "critical" and says it get worse. The grain movement started out behind schedule because the V S. and Russia coy.ldn'i agree on details involving the use of V.S. and Soviet ships, along with third-flag carriers; while the negotiators haggled. grain piled up a', ports a'vsitirs ships. These dctai's wore set- tled in late November, and new there apparently are enough ships In Gulf of Mexico ports, through which most of the grain is moving. C. E. BullockT director of op- erations for the Port of Ho-.is- ton. say serenely that "things are going well' now that ships are available. But tho men who haul and load the grain disagree. "Hail cars are backed up as far as the eye can see'1 al the Houston and Corpus Christi ports, says one exoortcr. Gor- don Randall, an official of the Association of American Rail- roads, says. "We have 10.000 cars tied up at the ports right now, and that's the worst situ- ation we've had in two or three years. We have several embar- goes at Gulf ports right now of the congestion." (An embargo is an order issued tnrough the Association of .Am- erican Railroads either banning or restricting movement of cars to a specific "The port elevators have be- come a weak says David Book Review L. Henderson, director of mar- keting for Illinois Central Gulf Hnilroed. can't mere the prain onto the ships as fast as we can gel it lo thsm. A spokes- man for Continental Grain Co.. the biggest grain exporter to Russia, says tint the eleva- tors are full ard that to expe- dite rail-car movement some cars, are being unloaded direct- ly onto ships, a slow process that the loading. The pileup b3came critical during the Christmas and .New Year's weekends, when port workers didn't work but loaded rail cars kept coming i n. Since Xew Year's, bad weather further ham-ered port op- etations. Ar.d. says ore rr.i'rwd crucial, the forts r-svar.'t been able 10 hire enough switch-en- gine crews and elevator crews to keep the ports busy around the clock. The congestion itself is the rniin impediment, though, ac- cording to Mr. Henderson, "When the ports' tracks get filled up, it's hard to move the cars around at he says. "It's like trying to get around in your own house when you're moving and you have boxes and furniture piled up all over the place.'1 The clogzed ports have slow- ed almost to a halt the move- in snt 01 grain from ccurtry "It's the worst mess I'va seen in the 20 years I've in this business.'1 says V.Ti'srd Clsrkion, traffic man- c'tr of Famers Grain Dealers of. Iowa, a group of 300 coun- Searching for seabed secrets "The Wreck Detectives" by Fenrtrll McDunald (Georre G. Harrap and Company Ltd., Sli, 392 pages, distribu- ted by Claikr. Iiwin ind Com- pany Using the compressed air Aqualung, wreck detectives are exploring the sea. seeking, finding and recording sunken history. This book is about wreck de- tectives and the discovering of sunken ships around the coasts of Britain. Wreck detectives hope that the wealth cf knowledge left en the seabed in the sunken ships can be brought to the surface and documenltd. The author is not cut of his depth. H? this gripping ta'e to marv books, proving (be Parker pen isn't the only instrument used under water. Also from his pen: Fish Watching and Photography; More Than Skin Deep: The Sec- ond Underwater Book: How to Get More Fun from Your Boat: The Wreck Hunters: irg in Britain: and two others which have drier titles. We re-dived on the wreck five times using the same marks, no: missing once, cut since then, on subsequent dives. I have spent up to four hours in hary visibility without findine Now this is pretty heady stuff for readers who are somewhat unaccustomed to crawl ing along the ocean floor. As fcr this reviewer, diving off the !o-.v hoard and exploring the bcttDm of the Fritz Sick Pool produces a murky thrill gcirs down and exploring H.M S. Coronation. JTM.S. Harwich and H.M.S. Exeter, lost to Nep- ture in 16S1. Tiis is what The Wreck De- tectives is all about and it s great stuff. It's best to crawl before wait- ing. Get your equipment and give it a try in the bathtub. Then slip into St. Mary's Dam and find a long-lost grain e'e- vator. Imagine looking fcr wrecks off Vancouver island: Tre r'ic'ogrEDhs are Firerb. He-n's one csp'-lon: "The in- credible sights which mst the eyes of tre City of Deny divers when they located the v.-reck of the Armada ship, La Trini- dad Valencera: guns 'ready to fire' poking out from rocks and ethers lying in bronze splendor on the seabed." They go after everything from Second World War sir- craft, ditched in the sea. to huge saving ship? ijie farnovs tea clipper Norman Court, built in 1EOT. The Norman Court up the fastest lime of the sea- 5" ire i.--n Cij-- to Britain in ?5 days. In March, 1S33, she was driven on rocks by a south-west gale which came howling cut of the Irsh Sea Young Aqualur.s diver Salmon was lured 13 Uie scene by the fascination of seeing the remains of a famous clipper shir.. This is a remarkable book. Eeautifu'ly researched ccnsuTictcd. D'ARCY RICKARD iMi-Cmii Telephmi Sjilia We put our finger on a mlxed-up problem. CONCRETE CASE HISTORY: Gailelli Ccnstruction Materials Limited had what seemed like a very simple problem on ihe fcce o! it! Phoned-in orders lor ready-mixed concrete took too long to transmit from order-'aker 1o dispatcher. The ACT Communications Consultant took nothing for granted, He worked with all concerned. Studied the operation in depth. Identified the problem and proposed Ihe solution. Today, orders (ha( once could take up 10 hours to till can be processed in as little ss90 seconds. Instant Tclescripl transmission of written information between order-taker and dispatcher has solved problems c! walking, lost time and lost orders. Whatever ________________________ your business, it makes good sense to talk with an AGT Communications Consultant, His in-depth study costs nothing. A And it can moan greater efficiency and a better g f profit picture lor youl try elevators. "One ol our ship- hasn't moved out his Oc- tober orders vet. and another Eeys he received only three cars during al] of December. We're all short cars and behind on our shipments." That's ex- pensive, because substantial discounts of tiro cents a bushel or more are made on delayed grain shipments. "We're grabbing anylhiag we can get our hards on coal cars, baggage cars, amthin? Ihdt mV. hold a bushel of grain." says Mr. Clark'.oD. To help alleviate the car- Ehortage problem, the Inter- siste Commerce Commission this mon-Ji authorized railroads ID U5e oTsen-hoprer cars ur> elly ured b hauling coa! for grain at the same fares charg- ed for the larger covered-ho> per cars. There are about 20.000 ocen-hoppers available, but they have to be cleaned and in seme cgses repaired so fhst grain won't leak out the bot- toms. Mr. Henderson isn't so sure the will be that beneficial, aaj-sray. "Thev would the short- age at the cour.try elevators briefly, but then the cars would jvst go doira to the ports and sit. arxl tte cour.tn- e'erawrs would be back 10 the same problem." he says. "In addi- tion, the extra cars would cause that much more congestion the ports'' He say; the COE- ges-ion has caused tre aver- age turnaround of cars on his railroad from country elevator to pen and bsck to the ele- vator to increase frcm 10 days a month ago to about ]5 dsvs rjir, seme cars are taHng 20 days or mtre to make fce circuit, he adds. Scottish in one easy lesson By Eva Brensipr, free-lance writer Talk with a Communications Consultant. Edmonton: 425-2110 Calgary: 261-3111 Other: Dial '0' (Zero) End ask forZenilh 33000 [loll free) life of ore-vhorpe-s they're tightlv covered with can- vas, the grain in them is sub- ject to rain and snow damage. Officially. rai1roads say they are covering the hoppers, but -_j soms admit some ano r gra'n is exposed. To relieve the pressu-e on the Gulf ports, some grain is being shipped from Norfolk and Philadelphia and from Wesi Cosst ports. In the spring, grain can bk shipped from Great Lakes ports as well. Not aD ports have enough grain-stor- age facilities to be helpful, though. In the three months or so that remain until the Great Lakes oren up, several factors threat- en to worsen the rail-car and the bottteaeck at I'-e Gulf ports. One factor is tve recent government decision to sell federal grain stocks in effort to stem rising grain prices. "Shippers generally felt that (these) movements wo-jld only further congest and pro- lone the export problems." says a recent report of the National Gram arid Feed Association's force, which is made up of railroads, counnry el- ectors and government offi- cials. Another potential problem is a cutback on fuel for diesei lo- comotives. Oi! companies have been cutting the fuel oil to in- sure supplies of home heating oil. The fuel cutbacks "aren't c-itica! yet. but they're scaring the hell out of everybody." one railroad official says. Prolonged cold could slow the grain move- mer.t to a crawl, railroad men A wprsering situatiim L- the movement could affect f'r.lpmeit of ether gccds. Of im- concern is the ship- ment of fertilizer for sprmg Fertilizer ususllV is carried cars, which currently are tied uo in t'r-' movement. "Ferttlir- r.ormsliy starts moving ui eariv February, but 1 (lo-.'t see ho--v it can this year." say? s M-.V'vrs: rail executive. "The stluation nil! be criu- e.-; yesr." If farmers don't get -Jieir fer- tilirer in thev micht not lv able to boost as ntu'h as the eevemnen: svould 1-kr. wMch is. a key elemer.t in t'v Nixor. adniinistralior.'s effort to slo-.v the increase in foiH1 prices. congestion also uv.pmaiion'.l "Tne cotv toncage off ru.-rket. so rates are inipmv. ins and the market is very I'rm K of Ihe B-lwre unerr.stiona] shippinc ar- are mftde. Meanwhile, exporters are ntvut the mission of a Kiist.ian rrado delegation that expivted to arrive in the V S. this week. Some ovjponers think the. Soviets are coming to complain about the delayed s'.iipnnMils. while others think want lo buy more I'.S. grain There have Ixvn rorons thjit bsd wr-alher is hurting the Soviet ovps planted last laU. Tho Guli ffectir.i: COUTTS Early in January in a weak moment. 1 confided in this column thai my husband "breaks out into the broad- est Scottish dialect you ever heard" when my shopping sprees get him down. "Apart from calling you a 'footer', v.hat else does he 5-ay at such moments of letters, pouring into my mail box. enquired. Some writers wanted to hear same more 'sophisticated' Scottish express- ions. Others remembered par eras and grand- parents use v.orc'6 they didn't know the meaning of and asked to be enlight- ened, tee lady is compiling a list o! woras and a man wrote: "Please don't be bashful and teD me more. I am collecting foreign curses." If it took a long time to answer those questions. I hope I'll be forgnen be- cause, when I am enjoying myself. I have the dubious gift of being able to shut my ears to anything that might mar my pleasure. In order to discover what he really comes out with, I had to take my shuppLcg again and that, be- lisve me. took some persuasion. However, when he finally eadulged my whim, we both gamed by that experience. I heard enough to compile a Scottish dictionary in the interest of word-hunters and he is happily convinced I'll never again ask him to go shopping with me. We had orly just driven into the car park of a shopping mall when another car cut across st some speed, barely avoiding DUT front feeders. "Ye nowt" my husband yelled at him. "Stupid fellow.'1 said ihich. he told me, means the same thing. To get over this fright we made a ''bee-iir.e" for the restaurant. There, over a CLP of tea. my husband got inio con- versation with a lady, also a Scot. "TagEE-bogle." they said almost sun- ultanec.usiy. sliakkg their heads over a young man at the next table. He did loofc somewhat seedy with his lone, stringy, unkempt dirry. tattered ehirt and torn, faded jeans. "He probably can't help it." I remarked, but he is a bit of a Ecare-crow.'' "That's what we just said, s laitie-bogle." the lady enlightened me. "Yon i untidy person) would frigiten the daylights cut o' me if I met him in the dark." sx added shuddering. "Well, I better take traipsie' to yon supermarket." she said, pointing to the other end of the mall, i A traipsie is a short trip as from one store to another or one farm to the nexi. i "Cold iro2.'' sire whispered and I thought she was going to faint. A minister in clerical clothes hid just passed her. is wrong wiii 1 asked my husband. "You should knaw.'' he said, "haven't you met enough of the people in clachLns to have heard their supersti- Tisy cldrc a 'cold iron' a spell is put on them when meeting a minister on the way to work for instance. ''Clscriac? Whit's "Ycrj are ig- norant." returned my husband, "that is small house among tie heather.'1 We hadn't even stoned shopping ye; and he was al- ready getting impatient. Yet when we did get down to it, I was again mesmerized with shelves upon shelves of temputiom so hard to resist. I forgo; rcy husband was Trailing till I hcird him say compas- sionately: did I turned round and rlvre was a man loaded with parcels following his wife pushed four 5m dl children in an otherwise empty si-roping can.. "Trua'. an a poor eoul.'' my husband explained impadentlj1 and, by DO-, usnecessarily. I ccrjJd see yhat be was geSiag El. A lou-dspeakei' was now announcing m- Ecvertised that could be bough' in the store during lie next half hour. "Buy, buy. buy." my husband sneered, "they scun- ner me Of course, you haven't heard that word eii-er in all your yesn in Sootlard? Let me translate: Scunner means QiEgUS." "Give me a to live in time. You wouldn't wmi v} look ail that furni- ture, pots. carper md pictures. You wouldn't have anywhere to pu: it." I couldn't but agree him for t bothie is a little one-room bjuse to'os- ing fishermen b Err-iland. "Footer." he said a'. !asi. "Lex's go. Yon have wasted enough time. We'll wmetlirnE to and gn to E show." Ws left and Ins English has been impeccable ever since. Th; gentleman n-ho collects "foreujn curses" will be disappointed but I could have told him a; the beginning: Even U roused, rr.y husband never curses or swears ifi Srptlisi or anv other langusga ind I do love him for thit. Report to readers Walker What's the holdup? Occasionally fi loner writer nil] be-ar liis or her offering to The Herald editorial offices seekiEE! assurances that it will be published m that dsy's paper. Surprise is usually regisierwi voen ihe writer is told h'ji iener is too no', only for Lhsl day but ior the iwvi a.s ivell. I'd like to to then, why some things in the paper Lhe day they happen while o'J-.er ihirs? take longer. It require mere people arci more employed only st peak pcrirxis to produ.'e a paper in aJl pKgc? had the ?ame curreacy. Economics ddclaie mat some psces shimld be processed in the afier- r.-xr, for rest day because i-hai and machlTcs 10 be bus} con- Obviousl> the ne-.ii pages to be assembled in the mrmir.E jus: ahoad nf tlie noon press tune u-M.e >uch as rrJioriaJ wee rar be rlparcd earlier. rnfortiinaie'.y. this means that comment OT-L the news p.imos; never coincides wriLh oricinfil reporur.c. Tne relecatjon of the o: ihe page to the aJicnioon does not niwn a l.iior.esj of one nay but ;wo. VTien 's pape is pu; loce'.her on Tuesday afternoon the material lias to be sianed P.I the into iype on Oftrr more TC- iVe Ihrri just IJiose "wo days eate-n by proriuclin'.i. fa'.'. Uic copy no: locally c.inio by -isil. jonir pace iv.alerial movw win? fit tiiphi Bui nivvi of [Jv oonimontan' comes hy mail is subject to som? uncertainty ir, Ay, odJ of Uio m.iil service lias lo do vilh the delivery of Uic column Avrilio.n by Joseph KraJt. Tho column is uniicn la Washinpton usually and then transmiried to the Chicago office of it is mimeo- graphed au-maiiea 10 subscribers. Occasionally I rc-ad the coluirj] in the Paria International Herald Tribune before Lhe pcipv Iron1, CrJcaeo reaches my desk, it snoulc take longer for a jelier to come from ChicsEo tr.ar, from Ffcris is something iha; me. Material a cay or tro Jo Arrive by means iha: co-nmenisry on Ihe eduoria; pare is ihs; much furUwr re- moved from ihe news happeTunp. Tr.us the ropy thai is rvri c-u; or. Mpnday for in- clusion on ;iie pace may been TniL-sc-iy or Friday of the ser.t to the paper my cask on to Tre iha: reaches have wnt- parlies! i: csn 20: ;he p.-pe is Wed- r.csdtay. Bu: whether it into the "Wed- read ay pace depone? on mar.y letters Lhere are and their No riiscriinin- a'aon is n the of which lei'.ers ce: first. Tney are a'.l pu; out :hey are if they tre approved the eo.itor and the- they are iittM into ;hr spare ass.raed or are used as fillers. create special problems for a pace ixiiior tx-'.'.iusf :bere is no L're-.r or their lenpv 1 try in sv.v.d letters de- layed too ior.c bv a list w.th the date of .iriri the make- men '.o in if up in r.ia be expc.-tod. I anticipalf She lonal pace be advanci-d a: !e.w a (ia> iv wv Any re o: course, thfll no: by viil sidJ be lale b-.it no: AS x< now.