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Drop in Canadian rail freight volume slowed in August

October 26, 2016

Statistics Canada announced that the country's railways carried a total of 29.8 million tonnes of freight in May, a 0.8% decrease from the same month last year.

The Federal agency reports that total rail freight originating in Canada increased 0.6% compared with August 2015 to 27.1 million tonnes.

Non-intermodal freight rose 1.2% to nearly 294,000 carloads in August. The amount of freight loaded into these cars totalled 24.2 million tonnes, up 0.2% from the same month in 2015. The gain mainly reflected an increase in loadings of coal (+9.6%), other cereal grains (+57.6%), potash (+10.9%) and lumber (+13.6%).

In comparison, the tonnage of wheat (-14.6%), fuel oils and crude petroleum (-28.6%) and colza seeds (canola) (-27.7%) shipped by rail continued to decline in August on a year-over-year basis.

Intermodal freight loadings rose 4.3% to just over 200,000 units from August 2015 to August 2016. In terms of weight, intermodal traffic was up 4.5% to 2.9 million tonnes, as the 5.1% increase in containers on flat cars offset the 16.1% decrease in trailers on flat cars.

Freight traffic received from the United States fell 13.6% to 2.7 million tonnes in August, as a result of a 16.4% decrease in non-intermodal freight. Intermodal freight from the United States increased 24.4%.

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