OTTAWA - Dec 18/19 - SNS -- Traffic carried by Canadian railways dropped 5.4% from last year to reach 33.0 million metric tons (MT) in October, reports Statistics Canada.
The non-intermodal freight loadings were largely responsible for the shortfall in the overall volume, declining 6.0% to 26.6 million MT compared with the same period in 2018. The decline was widespread across many of the commodity groups carried by Canadian railways.
Significant decreases were reported in potash (-34.5% or -620 000 MT), fuel oils and crude petroleum (-23.9% or -515 000 MT), other oil seeds and nuts and other agricultural products (-38.3% or -222 000 MT), canola (-13.1% or -168 000 MT) and lumber (-13.9% or -133 000 MT).
This decline reflects a number of factors, including a temporary slowdown in global demand for potash, the continuation of crude petroleum production limits in Alberta and the delays in harvesting this year due to wet weather conditions in Western Canada.
Partly offsetting these declines were modest increases in loadings of wheat (+15.7% or +319 000 MT), iron ores and concentrates (+4.3% or +209 000 MT) and coal (+5.2% or +159 000 MT).
Over the same period, freight traffic coming from US rail connections decreased 5.9% to 3.2 million MT. Conversely, intermodal freight traffic in Canada continued to hold steady, increasing 0.7% from the same period last year to 3.2 million MT.
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