RailState Rail Capacity Report November 22-28, 2022

We’ve been reporting on the Grain movement in Canada to the Port of Vancouver for the last ten weeks. For most of this period, the railways have appeared to be doing well with westbound movements toward Vancouver. The past week (ending 11/28/2022) was a continuation of that trend, with total train volumes increasing slightly to 27.9 trains/day, which was  significantly above the 25.7 trains/day required to move the current grain harvest and the typical volume of other commodities. This represented an increase of 0.6 trains/day from the 27.3 trains/day that occurred during the previous week (ending 11/21/22).  

Observations for Week 11/22-11/28/2022

  •  The 7-day moving average number of trains moving westbound past Chilliwack was 27.9 trains/day, significantly above the average of 25.7 trains/day that is required to move a typical grain harvest.  
  • The moving average number of trains/day was above 25.7 trains/day for all 7 days during this past week.
  • During the week ended 11/28/2022, the 7 day moving average for total trains increased by 0.6 trains/day from the previous week, from 27.3 to 27.9 trains/day.

We estimate that about 5 grain trains/day are required to move the expected grain harvest. For the past week, the railways moved 8.4 grain trains/day, below the high of 9.4 grain trains/day achieved in October, but well above the required average. 

However, during the week ending 11/28/22, only three of the seven categories of rail traffic we track were at or above their long-term average levels. These were grain (8.4 trains/day), manifest trains (4.3 trains/day), and other traffic (1.0 trains/day.)  Intermodal (6.3 trains/day), coal (4.4 trains/day), and potash (1.3 trains/day) were all below their long-term average levels for the third week in a row (although coal and potash traffic did see slight increases during the week ended 11/28/22.) Petroleum traffic fell slightly to 2.1 trains/day, and also dropped slightly below its long-term average of 2.2 trains/day.  

We will continue to monitor the corridor to Vancouver during the grain season and provide updates on trends we’re seeing. 

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