Railway carloadings

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March 2011 (Previous release)

Canada's rail network of mainline, regional and shortline railways carried a combined 26.9 million tonnes of freight in March, a 5.6% gain from March 2010.

The increase was the result of higher freight loadings originating in Canada as well as from the United States.

The Canadian railway's core domestic transportation systems, non-intermodal and intermodal, together accounted for almost 90% of the total traffic loaded in March. Combined shipments rose to 24.0 million tonnes in March, up 4.7% from the same month last year.

Non-intermodal loadings represented the vast majority of total domestic freight loaded in March, rising 5.0% from March 2010 levels to 21.7 million tonnes. The gain was spurred by increased freight loadings in 41 out of the 63 commodity groups carried on railways. Of these, iron ores and concentrates, lumber, wood pulp and potash represented the largest gains in tonnage.

Intermodal loadings of containers and trailers on flat cars, which Canadian railways either received from or transferred to other modes of transportation, rose 1.8% from March 2010 to 2.3 million tonnes in March. The increase occurred solely on the strength of containerized cargo shipments, as loadings of trailers on flat cars fell during the month.

At the international level, traffic received from the United States (either destined for or passing through Canada) rose to 2.9 million tonnes in March, recording a robust increase of 14.1% compared with March 2010. The increase occurred as a result of strong growth in non-intermodal traffic, which rose 15.5% from March 2010 to 2.8 million tonnes in March.

On a geographic basis, 56.6% of total freight traffic originating in Canada was loaded in the Western Division of Canada, with the remainder loaded in the Eastern Division. For statistical purposes, the Eastern and Western divisions are separated by an imaginary line running from Thunder Bay to Armstrong, Ontario. Freight loaded at Thunder Bay is included in the Western Division while loadings at Armstrong are reported in the Eastern Division.

Available on CANSIM: table 404-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2732.

The March 2011 issue of Monthly Railway Carloadings, Vol. 88, no. 3 (52-001-X, free), is now available from the 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 Client Services (toll-free 1-866-500-8400; transportationstatistics@statcan.gc.ca), Transportation Division.