Canadian railway freight volume down 0.9 percent in May

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 19:25:12 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

According to Statistics Canada, in May, Canadian railways transported 29.3 million tons of freight, down slightly (-0.9 percent) from May of 2020. This marked the first decline since October 2020—following six straight months of year-over-year increases.

While the overall volume was down year over year, it remained close to the five-year average of 30.9 million tons for May.

During the first five months of 2021, the volume of goods moved by rail totaled 154.5 million tons, up 3.5 percent compared with the same period in 2020, and second only to a record high of 158.2 million tons recorded for these same months in 2019.

The non-intermodal rail operations in Canada accounted for the decline in the overall volume of freight carried, falling 6.1 percent year over year to 22.9 million tons.

Shipments of iron ores and concentrates experienced a sharp drop of 45.2 percent (-2.4 million tons) in May, following six consecutive months of substantial year-over-year growth. This drop coincided with a temporary shutdown of iron ores and concentrates production at a Quebec–Labrador mine site in May, due to a labor disruption.

Intermodal loadings—mainly containers—surged by 34.5 percent to 3.3 million tons in May from the same month in 2020. This is the second-highest volume for this month on record, and comes on the heels of substantial year-over-year increases in April (+27.8 percent) and March (+38.5 percent).

Also helping to offset the decline in commodity traffic this May, freight traffic from the United States remained well above the volume recorded in 2020 for a third consecutive month, rising 14.4 percent to 3.1 million tons.

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