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Railway carloadings, March 2018

Released: 2018-05-30

Railway carloadings, total tonnage

31.8 million tonnes

March 2018

0.1% increase

(12-month change)

The volume of rail freight carried in Canada totalled 31.8 million tonnes in March, up 0.1% from March 2017.

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

Freight originating in Canada decreased 0.9% from the same month last year to 28.5 million tonnes in March. Non-intermodal freight increased by 1.0% to 314,000 carloads. The amount of freight loaded into these cars fell 1.6% from March 2017 to 25.3 million tonnes.

In March, the commodities with the largest increase in tonnage were wheat (+246 000 tonnes or +13.8%), other cereal grains (+215 000 tonnes or +46.6%), potash (+177 000 tonnes or +10.3%), gaseous hydrocarbons, including LPGs (+83 000 tonnes or +16.0%) and other metallic ores and concentrates (+63 000 tonnes or +20.4%) compared with March 2017.

Conversely, tonnages declined for fresh, chilled or dried vegetables (-385 000 tonnes or -63.2%), iron ores and concentrates (-282 000 tonnes or -5.8%) and colza seeds (canola) (-210 000 tonnes or -18.9%) over the same period.

Intermodal freight loadings rose 10.0% from March 2017 to 217,000 units. The gain stemmed from a 10.3% increase in containers-on-flat-cars. In terms of weight, intermodal traffic rose 5.0% to 3.2 million tonnes.

Freight traffic received from the United States rose 9.0% to 3.3 million tonnes, as a result of increases in both non-intermodal (+8.7%) and intermodal (+12.5%) freight.

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;

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