Rail Freight Volumes Up in May

OTTAWA - Jul 31/19 - SNS -- Canadian railways saw a 7.8% year over year increase in freight volume in May, according to Statistics Canada, hauling 34.4 million metric tons (MT) of cargo.

Total intermodal and non-intermodal freight loaded in Canada rose 10.4% from the same month a year earlier to 30.9 million MT in May 2019. The amount of non-intermodal freight rose 11.5% from May 2018 to 27.7 million MT.

The commodity with the largest year-over-year increase in tonnage was iron ores and concentrates (+2.2 million MT, or +63.1%). A workers' strike that took place in the mining sector in early 2018 could have had an impact on the transportation of this commodity, which declined markedly in April and May 2018.

Fuel oils and crude petroleum (+619 000 MT, or +48.7%), potash (+267 000 MT, or +13.9%), coal (+227 000 MT, or +7.6%), and gaseous hydrocarbons, including liquid petroleum gas (LPG) (+185 000 MT, or +36.9%), also posted large year-over-year increases.

In contrast, tonnages declined for other oil seeds and nuts and other agricultural products (-157 000 MT, or -51.6%), other cereal grains (-148 000 MT, or -33.8%), colza seeds (canola) (-148 000 MT, or -16.4%); lumber (-132 000 MT, or -11.8%); and iron and steel, primary or semi-finished (-128 000 MT, or -28.8%).

Intermodal freight loadings increased 0.4% from May 2018 to 215,000 units. In terms of weight, intermodal traffic increased 1.8% to 3.2 million MT.

Overall, freight traffic from the United States fell 11.1% to 3.5 million MT as a result of a 15.7% decrease in non-intermodal freight.