RailState, the rail industry’s only provider of real-time rail network visibility, independently tracks all freight rail movements across Canada in real-time.
This report covers movements of major commodities for export, including grain, coal, and potash.
Grain export carloads saw the biggest increase in October, as was expected with the start of the grain harvest season.
Overall grain carloads rose 27% in October, after a huge 75% increase in volume in September. Carloads on CN increased 21% from the prior month and carloads on CPKC increased 33%. CPKC moved more grain carloads than CN last month (30,575 compared to 28,420).
The overall daily average volume rose 27% in September, growing from 1545 carloads per day to 1967.
We expect grain export volumes to remain high over the coming months as the grain harvest season continues.
Daily carloads were higher at the beginning of October and leveled off in the second half of the month.
Coal carloads moving for export increased slightly in October, rising 1.6% from September. CN coal volumes increased 6.5% during the month and CPKC volumes remained mostly flat from the prior month, dropping a mere 0.7%.
Daily volume dipped in mid-October before rebounding to end the month.
Total potash carloads grew 17.6% in October. Most of the growth came from CPKC, whose volumes increased 39% over September. Potash trains on CN experienced a moderate decrease of 4.8% last month. While September saw a close split between the two railways, volumes in October returned to the more common breakdown, with CPKC moving 60% of total potash volume.
Daily volume ticked down at the end of October but volumes remain seasonably high. Compared to the other commodities, potash shows the most volatility day to day, and this high volatility was on display at the end of last month.