STAT Communications Ag Market News

Modest Increase In Canadian Railcar Loadings

OTTAWA - Jan 25/14 - SNS -- Canadian railways transported 32.4 million metric tons (MT) of freight in November, slightly above (+0.8%) November 2022 levels, according to Statistics Canada.

Albeit small, this marked the first year-over-year increase in rail volumes in seven months as higher carloadings of potash, coal and wheat more than offset declines in canola and other grains.

The overall tonnage in November was above the five-year monthly average of 31.6 million MT.

Loadings of wheat posted a sharp year-over-year increase after two consecutive months of decline, up 9.7% (+231 000 MT) from November 2022.

Growth in commodity traffic in November was moderated by large declines in loadings of some agricultural products, reflecting lower crop production due to less favourable growing conditions in Western Canada during 2023.

Loadings of canola dropped by 50.9% (-598 000 MT) compared with November 2022—the second consecutive decline—while loadings of other cereal grains decreased for the third month in a row, down 57.2% (-401 000 MT) from the same month last year.

Similar trends were observed in Canadian international merchandise, with Canada's exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products falling 19.4% year over year in November 2023.

Non-intermodal rail operations accounted for the slight increase in the overall volume of freight carried, increasing 1.3% year over year to 25.9 million MT in November. Potash led the pack, with loadings rising sharply by 35.7% (+625 000 MT) in November—the largest such gain in almost 14 years.

Year over year, loadings of coal were up 18.6% (+517 000 MT) in November, the third consecutive month of year-over-year growth.

Year over year, other decreases were reported for iron ores and concentrates, with loadings decreasing 6.5% (-312 000 MT) in November.

In November, domestic intermodal shipments—mainly containers—continued their downward trend for the 12th consecutive month, dipping by 1.9% year over year to 2.9 million MT.

Continued declines with intermodal rail volume may reflect a weakening of demand for imported goods, as Canadian international trade data reported that imports of consumer goods fell 5.8% year over year in November.

In November, loadings from connections with American railways totalled 3.5 million, a near-zero growth (0.0%) from November 2022. However, this total still represents the second-highest volume ever recorded for the month of November.

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