Railway Industry Posts Gains in Q1 Despite Harsh Winter
Source: CEP News
Published: May 29th 2008

Business was booming for Canada's railway industry in the first quarter of 2008 despite one of the worst winters in years, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.

Freight shipped on Canadian railways grew 6.8% on a monthly basis in March to 22.9 million metric tonnes, despite unusually cold weather, high winds and record snowfall.

Shipments of coal, potash, wheat, canola seeds and sulphur accounted for the majority of the increase as a results of rising demand for those commodities both inside and outside of Canada, Statistics Canada said.

Rail freight traffic arriving from the United States rose by 6.2% in the month to 2.9 million metric tonnes.

On a quarterly basis, shipments in Q1 fell 5.9% to 67.1 million metric tonnes compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, though Statistics Canada reported the decline is typical for the time of year. However, compared to the first quarter of 2007, loadings in Q1 2008 were up nearly 1%.

On an annual basis, March non-intermodal (single journey) shipments were down slightly, while intermodal loadings were down 7.8%. Shipments from the U.S. rose 5.5% on the year, an all-time high for March, StatsCan said.