According to Statistics Canada, Canadian rail freight traffic from both domestic and international operations rose 13.1 per cent from February 2011 to 25.4 million tonnes in February 2012. On the domestic front, the industry’s core transportation systems, non-intermodal and intermodal, saw their combined freight loadings rise 11.7 per cent to 22.3 million tonnes over the same 12-month period.
Non-intermodal cargo loadings, which are typically carried in bulk or loaded in boxcars, advanced 12.0 per cent to 20.0 million tonnes. The gain was the result of increased traffic in more than two-thirds of the commodity classifications carried by the railways. The commodity groups with the largest increases in tonnage were coal, wheat and colza seeds (canola).
Intermodal freight loadings of containers and trailers loaded onto flat cars grew 8.6 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes. The increase occurred solely on the strength of containerized cargo shipments as trailers loaded onto flat cars declined.
At an international level, traffic received from the United States increased 24.5 per cent to 3.1 million tonnes. The increase was driven by both non-intermodal and intermodal traffic.
Geographically, 61.0 per cent of the freight traffic originating in Canada was in the West, with the remainder loaded in the East. 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.