OTTAWA, Ont. -- Canadian railways carried 26.0 million tonnes of freight in December, up 0.7% from December 2011, according to Statistics Canada. Freight loaded domestically as well as traffic received from US connections both rose during the month, with the US traffic providing the strongest growth.
Domestically, combined loadings of non-intermodal freight and intermodal freight rose 0.3% to 23.1 million tonnes.
Non-intermodal freight rose 0.2% to 20.9 million tonnes. Key commodities that contributed to the growth in tonnage were loadings of fuel oils and crude petroleum as well as iron ores and concentrates. At the other end of the spectrum, a number of commodities saw declines in tonnage during the month. Colza seeds (canola), coal and iron and steel (primary or semi-finished) were the principal commodities that led the decline.
Intermodal freight increased 1.4% to 2.2 million tonnes. The gain was solely the result of higher volumes of containerized cargo shipments as trailers loaded on flat cars fell during the month.
The Western Division accounted for 60.0% of the domestic freight loadings, down 2.8% from the same month in 2011 to 13.8 million tonnes. The remainder was loaded in the Eastern Division, which saw its loadings increase by 5.4% to 9.3 million tonnes. For statistical purposes, cargo loadings from Thunder Bay, Ont., to the Pacific Coast are classified to the Western Division while loadings from Armstrong, Ont., to the Atlantic Coast are classified to the Eastern Division.
Freight traffic received from US connections rose 3.8% to 2.9 million tonnes. Similar to the domestic scene, both non-intermodal and intermodal loadings were up in December compared with December 2011.