Railway carloadings, April 2012 (preliminary data)

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Canadian rail freight traffic rose 2.0% from April 2011 to 27.2 million tonnes in April. The gain was solely the result of increases in international cargo loadings, as domestic freight shipments declined.

Total domestic freight loadings, composed of non-intermodal traffic (i.e., carried in bulk or loaded in box cars) and intermodal traffic (i.e., containers and trailers on flat cars), fell 0.7% to 23.8 million tonnes over the same 12-month period.

Non-intermodal cargo loadings declined 1.6% to 21.3 million tonnes. The decrease was the result of reduced traffic in more than half of the commodity classifications carried by the railways. The commodity groups with the largest declines in tonnage were coal, iron ores and concentrates, and other cereal grains.

In contrast, several commodity groups registered increases. Loadings of wheat increased the most, followed by fuel oils and crude petroleum, and other refined petroleum and coal products.

Intermodal freight loadings grew 8.1% to 2.5 million tonnes. The increase occurred solely on the strength of containerized cargo shipments, as trailers loaded onto flat cars declined.

Internationally, total rail traffic received from the United States advanced 25.2% to 3.4 million tonnes. The increase was driven by both non-intermodal and intermodal traffic.

Geographically, 60.2% of the freight traffic originating in Canada was in the Western Division of Canada, with the remainder loaded in the Eastern 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.

Available without charge in CANSIM: table CANSIM table404-0002.

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

The April 2012 issue of Monthly Railway Carloadings, Vol. 89, no. 4 (Catalogue number52-001-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 Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636; statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca).