OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian railways carried their heaviest freight load so far this decade in 2005, thanks to the pressing demand for primary goods from China and other Asian nations, Statistics Canada records indicate.
Railways reported total loadings of more than 287.2 million metric tonnes of goods in 2005, up 3.7% or 10.4 million tonnes over 2004.
“Canada’s entire transportation industry has worked hard in 2005. New infrastructures, as well as collaborative agreements to optimise movements of cargo on an already busy transportation network, appears to have been beneficial. The results of these collective efforts became more obvious in the second part of the year, when loadings surpassed those of the first half thanks to the strongest fourth quarter since 1999,” Statistics Canada noted in its Daily Bulletin.
The non-intermodal portion of loadings totalled 259.4 million tonnes, up from 250.2 million tonnes in 2004. Iron ore loadings alone increased by 4.4 million metric tonnes, while loadings of lumber were up by 2.9 million metric tonnes. Coal loading increased by 1.7 million tonnes.
Intermodal loadings, which consist of containers and trailers on flat cars, rose 4.5% to 27.8 million metric tonnes. Containerized cargo consists mostly of finished manufactured goods ready for retail purchase, most of which come from Asian countries and the United States.
Traffic received from the United States, either destined for Canada or passing through Canada back into the United States, totalled 27.3 million tonnes last year, up from 26.6 million tonnes in 2004.
On a monthly basis, total loadings in December fell 5.5% from November to 23.4 million metric tonnes.
The non-intermodal portion reached 21.2 million metric tonnes in December and required 267,000 cars. This represented a 5.1% drop from November but a 0.7% increase from December 2004.
The intermodal portion fell 9.7% to 2.2 million tonnes. Traffic received from the United States destined for Canada or passing through Canada back into the United States fell 6.7% to 2.3 million metric tonnes in December.
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