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Railway carloadings, April 2019

Released: 2019-06-26

Railway carloadings, total tonnage

32.7 million tonnes

April 2019

6.3% increase

(12-month change)

The volume of rail freight carried in Canada totalled 32.7 million tonnes in April, up 6.3% from the same month a year earlier.

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

Freight originating in Canada rose 9.8% from the same month in 2018 to 29.7 million tonnes in April. Non-intermodal freight increased 4.6% to 315,000 carloads. The amount of freight loaded into these cars rose 10.1% from April 2018 to 26.6 million tonnes.

In April, the commodities with the largest year-over-year increase in tonnage were iron ores and concentrates (+1.6 million tonnes or +46.9%), wheat (+681 000 tonnes or +33.1%), fuel oils and crude petroleum (+420 000 tonnes or +36.9%), potash (+206 000 tonnes or +11.5%), and sand, gravel and crushed stone (+125 000 tonnes or 108.2%).

Tonnages declined for other cereal grains (-221 000 tonnes or -35.7%), coal (-186 000 tonnes or -5.9%), colza seeds (canola) (-176 000 tonnes or -18.0%), mixed loads or unidentified freight (-124 000 tonnes or -97.0%) and iron and steel, primary or semi-finished (-86 000 tonnes or -20.7%).

Intermodal freight loadings increased 6.1% from April 2018 to 210,000 units. In terms of weight, intermodal traffic increased 7.5% to 3.2 million tonnes.

Freight traffic received from the United States fell 19.1% to 3.0 million tonnes as a result of a 24.0% decrease in non-intermodal freight.

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

  Note to readers

As of reference month January 2019, a change in the compilation of data affects the proportions between intermodal and non-intermodal data. It is therefore advisable to exercise caution when comparing data from 2019 with previous periods for these means of transport.

Data from January to March 2019 have been revised.

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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