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Abstract

There are important challenges to the grain handling and shipping industries. The study evaluated changes in marketing costs for the primary grain marketing functions and quantified measures of risk. The results indicate that 1) basis risk has increased; 2) all marketing costs have increased; 3) the increase in rail tariffs were less than those for the other modes; 4) car values, on average declined; 5) FSC’s had moderate changes in absolute terms; 6) handling margins have had fairly substantial increases, particularly at port; and 7) the riskiness in rail shipping costs are less than those of competing modes and functions. The regression model indicated the following variables had significant impacts on origin basis values: shipping costs, ocean rate spreads, outstanding export sales, handling industry concentration, measures of rail cars late, the ratio of supplies to storage capacity, futures prices and spreads (in addition to a few other minor impacts).

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