The Daily
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Railway carloadings, October 2017

Released: 2017-12-20

Railway carloadings, total tonnage

33.0 million tonnes

October 2017

5.3% increase

(12-month change)

The volume of rail freight carried in Canada totalled 33 million tonnes in October, up 5.3% from October 2016.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Railway carloadings, total tonnage shipped
Railway carloadings, total tonnage shipped

Freight originating in Canada increased 3.9% from the same month last year to 29.7 million tonnes. Non-intermodal freight rose 2.7% to 316,000 carloads in October. The amount of freight loaded into these cars totalled 26.5 million tonnes, up 3.0% from October 2016.

In October, the commodities with the largest year-over-year increases in tonnage were iron ores and concentrates (359 000 tonnes or +7.5%), coal (319 000 tonnes or +11.6%), potash (140 000 tonnes or +9.1%), other oil seeds and nuts and other agricultural products (130 000 tonnes or +14.4%) and fuel oils and crude petroleum (124 000 tonnes or +12.1%).

Conversely, tonnages declined for fresh, chilled or dried vegetables (-454 000 tonnes or -70.4%), fertilizers (excluding potash) (-126 000 tonnes or -33.8%) and wheat (-91 000 tonnes or -4.7%) over the same period.

Intermodal freight loadings rose 12.3% to 214,000 units from October 2016 to October 2017. The gain was attributable to increases in both containers-on-flat-cars (+12.4%) and trailers-on-flat-cars (+5.6%). In terms of weight, intermodal traffic rose 12.5% to 3.2 million tonnes.

Freight traffic received from the United States rose 19.2% to 3.3 million tonnes, as a result of increases in both non-intermodal (+20.7%) and intermodal (+2.7%) freight from the United States.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Railway carloadings, top commodities shipped
Railway carloadings, top commodities shipped

  Note to readers

The Monthly Railway Carloadings Survey collects data, including the number of rail cars, tonnage, units and 20-feet equivalent units, from railways operating in Canada that provide for-hire freight service.

Non-intermodal freight is cargo moved via box cars or loaded in bulk. Intermodal freight is cargo moved via containers and trailers on flat cars.

Data are available for Canada, the eastern division and the western division. 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.

Data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

Contact information

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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

Date modified: