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Competition Watch: Rail freight surges in October

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Total freight carried by Canadian railways in October reached 27 million tonnes, up 7.7% from Septe...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Total freight carried by Canadian railways in October reached 27 million tonnes, up 7.7% from September and 5.3% from October 2002, Statistics Canada reports.

Loadings for intermodal traffic, that is “containers on flat cars” and “trailers on flat cars,” totalled 2.4 million tonnes, up 19% from October 2002 and 12.7% from September 2003. Cumulative tonnage for January to October reached 21.9 million tonnes, compared with 20.5 million tonnes for the same period of 2002.

Total non-intermodal carloadings were at their highest levels since May 2002. October’s wheat and cereal grain loadings were up again this month, showing an increase of over a half million tonnes over the same month last year.

Although still down from the same month last year, coal was up 12.2% from September, continuing its rise from a low in August of 1.9 million tonnes.

"Traffic received from the United States rose to its highest point since 1999, with over 57,000 carloadings; this could be a reflection of the economic recovery observed in the United States," Statistics Canada commented in its Daily Bulletin.

With the approach of winter, carloads of gaseous hydrocarbons, including liquefied propane gases, have risen 34.8% from September.

Non-intermodal traffic on Canadian railroads totalled 276 thousand carloads and 21.7 million tonnes. This represents a 4.4% increase in tonnage from October 2002 and a 6.5% increase from September 2003.
The cumulative total for the first ten months of 2003 (excluding intermodal loadings) climbed to 192.8 million tonnes, compared with 200.0 million tonnes in 2002.

Traffic received from the United States destined for Canada or passing through Canada back into the United States reached 2.8 million tonnes, up 13.7% from September. From January to October, US loadings reached 25.3 million tonnes, compared with 22.2 million tonnes in the same period of 2002.

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