Railway carloadings, July 2013

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The Canadian railway industry carried 27.0 million tonnes of freight in July, a 1.8% decrease from the same month last year. The drop occurred despite a rise in traffic from the United States.

Within Canada, combined loadings of non-intermodal freight (i.e., cargo moved via box cars or loaded in bulk) and intermodal freight (i.e., cargo moved via containers and trailers on flat cars) decreased 2.5% to 23.3 million tonnes.

Non-intermodal loadings fell 3.2% to 20.7 million tonnes as a number of key commodities saw decreased activity in July. These included iron ores and concentrates (down 293 000 tonnes), canola (down 192 000 tonnes), gasoline and aviation turbine fuel (down 114 000 tonnes), and coal (down 107 000 tonnes). Overall, 29 out of 64 commodities carried by Canadian railways declined during the month.

Despite the drop in loadings, a number of commodities reported strong growth in July. These included fuel oils and crude petroleum (up 164 000 tonnes), other chemical products and preparations (up 156 000 tonnes) and lumber (up 97 000 tonnes).

Intermodal loadings rose 4.1% to 2.6 million tonnes. The gain was the result of increased containerized cargo shipments and trailers loaded onto flat cars.

From a geographic perspective, the Western and Eastern railway divisions in Canada had mixed results in July. The Western Division, which accounted for 60.5% of domestic loadings, reported a 0.5% rise in freight to 14.1 million tonnes. By contrast, the Eastern Division, which accounted for the remainder of the loadings, registered a 6.7% decline in freight to 9.2 million tonnes. For statistical purposes, cargo loadings from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to the Pacific Coast are classified to the Western Division while loadings from Armstrong, Ontario, to the Atlantic Coast are classified to the Eastern Division.

Rail freight traffic received from the United States rose 2.9% to 3.7 million tonnes. The increase marked the highest amount of traffic received for a month of July and occurred on the strength of intermodal loadings, particularly containerized cargo shipments.

Note to readers

All the data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

Available in CANSIM: table CANSIM table404-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2732.

The July 2013 issue of Monthly Railway Carloadings, Vol. 90, no. 7 (Catalogue number52-001-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).