Canadian rail freight volume down 13.3 percent in May

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 18:32:25 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

Following a steep year-over-year decline in the volume of rail freight in April, the impact of COVID-19 continued in May. Canadian railways carried 30.1 million tons of freight in May, a decrease of 13.3 percent from the same month in 2019, and the largest year-over-year drop since the economic downturn of 2009.

This decline reflected the shutdown of activities in various economic sectors due to the pandemic. However, there was a rebound in exports, which—according to May 2020 data on international merchandise trade—was led by resumption of production in the auto industry, as well as higher crude oil prices. This growth in export volumes may have dampened the downward impact on the volume of rail freight.

Loadings of iron ore and concentrates were down 6.0 percent (-338,000 tons) compared with May 2019, continuing the downward trend that began in November 2019. Loadings of coal declined 8.8 percent (-284,000 tons), as the impact of the shutdown of mining activities to slow the spread of COVID-19 continued to be felt.

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