Canadian rail freight volume up 10.1 percent in November

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 23:29:06 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian railways carried 32.1 million tons of freight during November, up 10.1 percent compared with November 2021. Higher carloadings of Canadian grains contributed substantially to this second straight month of year-over-year growth.

This annual increase also reflects lower volumes reported during November 2021, with major disruptions to rail freight in the west amid flooding and landslides that damaged main lines in southern British Columbia.

November's increase in total rail freight reflected a higher volume of domestic loadings, both non-intermodal loadings (mainly commodities) and intermodal loadings (mainly containers).

The tonnage of non-intermodal freight―on an upward trend since May 2022—rose sharply by 14.6 percent year over year to 25.6 million tons in November. While growth was widespread, it was driven by considerable increases in the loadings of some agricultural products―most notably grains.

Finally, significant increases were reported for coal, with loadings rising year over year by 32.3 percent (+678,000 tons) in November, starting to offset two consecutive months of lower volumes.

The above-noted growth in non-intermodal freight traffic was moderated by the continued declines of several commodities. Loadings of iron ores and concentrates dipped 4.0 percent (-203,000 tons) year over year in November, a second month of year-over-year decline.

Meanwhile, loadings of fuel oils and crude petroleum have declined year over year for six straight months, down 15.6 percent (-167,000 tons) in November.

Intermodal shipments originating from Canada—mainly containers—continued their upward trend, rising 6.7 percent year over year to 3.0 million tons in November, the fifth straight month of a year-over-year increase.

Despite this increase, intermodal rail volume was at a relatively low level for the month of November—perhaps reflecting weaker demand for consumer goods. According to data on Canadian international merchandise trade, Canada's imports and exports of consumer goods weakened somewhat in November.

Traffic received from connections with US railways saw a year-over-year decline for the third consecutive month, falling 12.5 percent to 3.5 million tons in November, following similar declines in October (-16.3 percent) and September (-12.0 percent).

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