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INDUSTRY PULSE: Railway carloadings up in 2004 despite work stoppage

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Canadian railway carloadings totalled 14 million more metric tonnes of freight in 2004 than the pre...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian railway carloadings totalled 14 million more metric tonnes of freight in 2004 than the previous year, – despite a work stoppage in Quebec mines that cut iron ore tonnage by about five million tonnes, Statistics Canada reports.

"Last year’s decline in iron ore shipments was more than offset by increased coal shipments driven by a strong demand from Asia, and by rising shipments of wheat and cereal grains. Coal loadings halted a two-year decline in 2004," the government statistical agency notes in its Daily Bulletin.

Shipments of wheat and cereal grains went from 17.8 million tonnes in 2003 to 22.6 million tonnes last year with an improvement in weather conditions.

Other basic chemicals, potash, iron and steel (primary or semi-finished) all showed gains of more than one million tonnes compared with 2003.

In total, Canadian railways loaded more than 275 million metric tonnes of freight in 2004. Non-intermodal loadings totalled 248.7 million tonnes, up from 234.8 million tonnes in 2003.

Intermodal loadings, which consist of containers and trailers on flat cars, rose a moderate 1.5% from a year earlier to 26.6 million metric tonnes.

"This rate of growth was somewhat slower than in previous years," Statistics Canada comments.

Traffic received from the United States destined for Canada or passing through Canada back into the United States totalled 26.6 million tonnes in 2004, up slightly from 26.3 million tonnes in 2003.

On a monthly basis, loadings in December fell 7.0% from November to 23.0 million tonnes. Despite the December decline, which occurs each year, the fourth quarter of 2004 was the highest ending quarter of the last five years.

The non-intermodal portion reached 20.9 million metric tonnes in December and required 264,000 cars. This represented a 6.8% drop from November and a 14.5% increase from December 2003.

The intermodal portion fell 9.2% from November totalling 2.1 million tonnes. December 20 04 and December 2003 tonnage was virtually unchanged.

Traffic received from the United States destined for Canada or passing through Canada back into the United States totalled 2.3 million tonnes in December, down 3.9 from November 2004.

For more information contact the Dissemination Unit (1-866-500-8400; fax: 1-613-951-0009; transportationstatistics@statcan.ca), Transportation Division.


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