Canadian railway industry carried 24.1 million tonnes of freight in February, down 5.6% from a year ago, led by drop in domestic loadings, which were affected by harsh winter weather: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , April 30, 2014 (press release) – The Canadian railway industry carried 24.1 million tonnes of freight in February, down 5.6% from the same month last year. The decrease in shipment activity was tied to a drop in domestic loadings, which were affected by harsh winter weather.

Domestic rail freight originating in Canada and destined within Canada and other parts of the world decreased 6.7% to 21.1 million tonnes. These shipments are composed of non-intermodal freight (that is, cargo moved via box cars or loaded in bulk) and intermodal freight (that is, cargo moved via containers and trailers on flat cars).

Non-intermodal freight decreased 8.3% to 232,000 carloads. The amount of freight loaded into these cars totalled 18.6 million tonnes, down 8.2%. Among the commodity groups that posted the largest declines in shipments were coal (down 485 000 tonnes), potash (down 384 000 tonnes), other refined petroleum and coal products (down 146 000 tonnes) and lumber (down 124 000 tonnes).

The drop in non-intermodal loadings occurred despite strong increases in a number of commodity groups during the month. These included fuel oils and crude petroleum (up 194 000 tonnes), wheat (up 164 000 tonnes) and other chemical products and preparations (up 150 000 tonnes).

Intermodal loadings rose 3.1% to 157,000 units in February. From a tonnage perspective, traffic advanced 6.7% to 2.5 million tonnes. The increase was a result of gains in both containerized cargo shipments and trailers loaded on to flat cars.

Rail traffic received from the United States rose 3.1% to 3.0 million tonnes in February. The gain was tied to higher containerized cargo shipments.

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