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Railway carloadings come in strong for second quarter

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Rail carriers hauled less freight in June than the month before, yet still reported the best second...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Rail carriers hauled less freight in June than the month before, yet still reported the best second quarter in eight years, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadian railways carried 24.1 million metric tonnes of freight in June, down 6.9% from the revised high of 25.9 million metric tonnes reported in May.

The intermodal portion, which consists of containers and trailers loaded on flat cars, decreased 2.7% in June to 2.4 million metric tonnes.

Non-intermodal tonnage for June slipped 7.4% from May to 21.7 million metric tonnes.

The drop in non-intermodal tonnage was influenced by reduced loadings of wheat, coal, and potash, all of which accounted for a decline of just over 1 million metric tonnes. While severe flooding in British Columbia reduced the movement of coal and grain shipments, the decline in loadings of potash is typical for June.

Freight coming from the United States, either destined for or passing through Canada, remained high in June despite a 6.7% decline from May. Tonnage edged down by about 176,500 tonnes to 2.5 million metric tonnes.

In total, 44 out of the 64 commodity groups reported under the non-intermodal categories showed less tonnage in June than in May.

However, this decline should not be interpreted as a slowdown within the rail industry as the second quarter results of 2007 are the strongest second quarter results reported by Canadian railways since 1999.

Combined loadings of intermodal and non-intermodal freight reached 73.4 million metric tonnes between April and June. This represented a 1.5% increase compared with the second quarter of 2006 and a 10.3% increase from the first quarter of 2007.

On a year-over-year-basis, non-intermodal tonnage in June climbed 1.4% from June 2006, while intermodal loadings edged up 1.3%. Traffic received from the United States remained above last year’s volume for the fifth consecutive month, up 11.4% from June 2006.

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