MRO Magazine

Railway carloadings in April curtailed by mining industry strike

Ottawa, ON -- Railways carried 5.4% less freight in April 2005, largely because of a strike in the iron ore mining ...


Ottawa, ON — Railways carried 5.4% less freight in April 2005, largely because of a strike in the iron ore mining sector and to a lesser extent a drop in loadings of fossil fuels. Railways loaded more than 23.9 million metric tonnes of freight, down 1.35 million tonnes from March 2005.

Strike action in the iron ore mining sector reduced loadings by almost 840,000 metric tonnes. Loadings of fossil fuels also fell with the arrival of spring and lower demand for heating fuels.

Still, on a year-to-date basis, rail freight between January and April hit 93.2 million tonnes compared with 90.5 million tonnes for the same period in 2004.

In April, non-intermodal freight totalled 21.5 million tonnes, down 6.0% from March. Shipments of iron ore, fossil fuels and logs incurred the biggest declines, while wheat, other non-metallic minerals and lumber recorded the biggest increases. About 273,300 railcars were required to move this freight.

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Coal, iron ore, potash, wheat and lumber, which are the top five commodities of the Canadian rail industry, accounted for 44% of the weight for non-intermodal loadings in April.

Loadings of intermodal freight, that is, containers and trailers hauled on flat cars, amounted to 2.4 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from March.

Containers on flat cars continued to increase their share of the intermodal traffic. They accounted for 95.7% of tonnage in that category in April, up from 92.1% two years ago.

Freight coming from the United States, either destined for or passing through Canada, reached 2.3 million tonnes, also virtually unchanged from March.

On a year-over-year basis, non-intermodal tonnage was down 2.9% from April last year. Intermodal traffic was up 3.3%, while traffic received from the United States was up 4.9%