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COMPETITION WATCH: Railway carloadings rebound in October

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The Canadian railway industry rebounded strongly in October on the strength of increased loadings i...

OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian railway industry rebounded strongly in October on the strength of increased loadings in the majority of its commodity classifications.

Railways loaded 25.4 million metric tonnes of freight in October, climbing 6.6% from the 23.9 million metric tonnes reported in September, Statistics Canada records indicate. The rise in loadings was tied to increases in the industry’s two main rail transportation systemsnon-intermodal and intermodal.

The non-intermodal portion of the freight loaded in October grew 6.2% to 22.8 million metric tonnes.

The increase in non-intermodal loadings was widespread, the result of increases in 52 of the 64 commodity classifications. This increase represents a strong rebound from September, in which the majority of the commodity classifications decreased. Loadings for October were also the highest amount of loadings for the month since 1999.

Among the commodities experiencing the largest increases in tonnage from September were raw materials, particularly non-ferrous metals. These include lead ores and concentrates (+68.3%), zinc ores and concentrates (+44.9%), and copper ores and concentrates (+31.3%).

Other commodities experiencing increases include agricultural and hydrocarbon based commodities. Agricultural commodities include other oil seeds and nuts and other agricultural products (+91.2%) and wheat (+24.1%). Hydrocarbon commodities include fuel oils and crude petroleum (+25.0%) and gaseous hydrocarbons, including liquid propane gas (+20.7%).

The intermodal portion of the freight loaded, consisting of both containers and trailers loaded on flat cars, rose 9.7% in October to 2.6 million metric tonnes.

October’s intermodal loadings are the highest monthly loadings of any month since 1999.
Rail freight traffic destined for or passing through Canada from the United States grew 12.3%, or by 341,000 tonnes, to 3.1 million metric tonnes in October.

On a year-over-year-basis, intermodal loadings rose 4% from October 2006, while non-intermodal loadings rose 2.7%. Traffic received from the United States continued its strong monthly annual advance in 2007, surging 19.6% from October 2006.

October’s traffic received from the United States represents the strongest year-over-year increase in tonnage for the month of October since 1999. It also represents the highest monthly traffic level of any month since 1999.

The growth in tonnage is attributable to a 22% year-over-year increase in the amount of carloadings originating from the United States.

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