International Intermodal containers eastbound from Western Canada Ports CN and CPKC

RailState, the rail industry’s only provider of real-time rail network visibility, independently tracks all freight rail movements across Canada in real-time. 

International Intermodal

Western Ports

International intermodal volume (20-foot and 40-foot containers) decreased in September. The total average daily volume headed eastbound from the Western Canada ports was down 15.6% in September compared to August. It is important to note that August had somewhat inflated intermodal volume as the railways worked to clear the backlog at the western ports from the dockworkers’ strike in July. 

CPKC saw a steeper decline in volume, dropping 21% in September compared to a 16% drop for CN. Despite the decline in total volume, CPKC has increased its market share of intermodal from the western ports. Compared to earlier in the year when CPKC moved about one third of international intermodal containers from the western ports, CPKC moved 42% in September. 

While intermodal train and total container volume dropped in September, CN showed a slight uptick in containers per train, carrying 5 more containers per train in September than in August (2.1% increase). CPKC intermodal trains carried the same number of containers per train in September. 

Containers per train from western ports September 2023


International container volume through Halifax also decreased in September. Volume on CN dropped 6.3% from August.

International intermodal westbound from Halifax

Domestic Intermodal

Over the previous three months, CPKC carried 20,297 domestic (53-foot) containers from the Port of Vancouver area to the Toronto area. During that same period, CN moved 16,600 domestic containers. CPKC accounted for 55% of domestic containers that moved on rail from Vancouver to Toronto. In the final week of September, CPKC moved 1914 domestic containers along this route compared to 1286 on CN. 

Domestic intermodal movements Vancouver to Toronto

International/Domestic Breakdown By Railway

Based on movements from the Port of Vancouver, CPKC carried nearly twice the proportion of domestic containers than CN (18% to 10%).

Intermodal Container Breakdown September 2023 CPKC
IM Container Breakdown September 2023 CN

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