Intermodal container volume eastbound from vancouver cn and cpkc May 2024

Container Volumes Drop on CPKC; Volumes on CN Continue Historic Levels

Total container volume through the western Canada ports was 94,791 containers in May, down slightly from April’s nearly 97,000 containers. April’s totals were the highest RailState has recorded. The declines all came on CPKC, which moved 15.3% less container volume than in April, and was down 2.9% from May 2023

 

CN continued moving historic container volumes, moving 4.8% more containers in May than in April through the Port of Vancouver. That was 44% more containers than May 2023. CN ran 9 additional trains out of Vancouver in May. 

 

CN also moved 19,305 containers through Prince Rupert. Combined container volume on CN through Vancouver and Prince Rupert was 6% higher in May than April, and was a second consecutive month of record container volume captured by RailState’s network. 

Recent Surplus of Westbound Platforms v. Eastbound

Week

CN 

CPKC

5/27/24 – 6/2/24

173

(37)

5/20/24 – 5/26/24

(138)

(188)

5/13/24 – 5/19/24

261

253

5/6/24 – 5/12/24

54

391

4/29/24 – 5/5/24

(256)

(168)

4/22/24 – 4/28/24

(247)

554

6-month weekly average

166

281

Platform surplus to port of vancouver December 2023 to June 3 2024 CN and CPKC

Total Train Volumes

Total intermodal train volume fell 2.4% in May, driven entirely by the decreases from CPKC. Total intermodal train volume on CN was 6.7% higher than April and train volume on CPKC fell 13.4% from April.

Intermodal train volume from Port of Vancouver Eastbound december 2022 to may 2024

Canadian National

CN moved an average of 4.65 trains per day, the highest daily average RailState has recorded. It was a 3.2% increase over April and a 19% increase from a year ago. 


CN had a minor decline in the number of containers per train, averaging 311 containers per train, down 1.7% from April.

Containers per train december 2022 to May 2024 CN compared to 2023 average

Travel times on CN are still higher than earlier in the year but have started to improve slightly. RailState’s network measures the 220-mile journey from Mission City, BC to Heffley, BC. After steady declines in travel time in April and early May, travel times ticked up at the end of the month. The seven-day moving average hit 16 hours at the end of May, up from 13 hours in the middle of the month.

Travel time for Intermodal trains through directional running zone on CN May 2024

Canadian Pacific – Kansas City

CPKC train volume dropped 13.4% in May and they ran slightly smaller trains – holding an average of 2.2% fewer containers per train.

Containers per train december 2022 to May 2024 CPKC compared to 2023 average

Travel times on CPKC have been mostly consistent on the 243-mile journey from Mission City, BC to Chase, BC. CPKC intermodal trains have consistently completed this stretch in about 10 hours. 

CPKC’s share of containers headed to the United States increased to 30.6% up from the 25% average over the previous six months.

Travel time for Intermodal trains through directional running zone on CPKC may 2024

Prince Rupert

Intermodal performance through Prince Rupert continued to grow in May. After hitting the highest levels RailState had recorded to date in April, with total container volume of 17,748, volume in May was 8.8% higher for a total container volume of 19,305. Volume in May was up 33% from May 2023.  

Containers per train grew by 20 containers per train from April and daily train volume remained mostly unchanged (-1.8%).

May 2024 Intermodal container volume through Prince Rupert on CN Total Container Volume and Average Daily Train Volume

In addition to movements out of the port regions, RailState also tracks containers as they move to their final destination, including across the US-Canada border. The share of container volume headed to the U.S. out of Prince Rupert decreased in May to 34% from 49% in April. Container volume from the Port of Vancouver into the US also decreased, falling to 13% from 21% in April.

Share of containers from port of vancouver and prince rupert that entered the United States May 2023 to May 2024

For additional information about this report or to receive other updates from RailState, please reach out to contact@railstate.com or subscribe to our blog.

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