RailState Rail Capacity Report November 8-14, 2022

We’ve been reporting on the Grain movement in Canada to the Port of Vancouver for the last eight weeks. For most of this period, the railways have appeared to be doing well with movement toward Vancouver, with total train volumes above the 25.7 trains/day required to move the current grain harvest, and the typical volume of other commodities. However, during the week ending 11/14/22, total train volume dropped to 25.4 trains/day (below the average required to move a typical grain harvest, and a decline of 2.2 trains/day from the previous week.) This may be due to weather related delays for grain trains last week that have delayed the return of empty cars.

Rail Capacity Chart November 14, 2022

Observations for Week 11/8-11/14/2022

  • The 7-day moving average number of trains moving westbound past Chilliwack was 25.4 trains/day, below 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 only 2 out of 7 days during this past week.
  • During the week ended 11/14/2022, the 7 day moving average for total trains declined by 2.2 trains/day from the previous week, falling from 27.6 to 25.4 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 7.1 grain trains/day, a decline from the high of about 9 grain trains/day achieved earlier in October, but still well above the required average.

However, intermodal (6.4 trains/day), coal (4.0 trains/day), potash (1.0 trains/day), and other traffic (0.7 trains/day) were all below their long-term average levels as of 11/14/22. Only petroleum traffic increased during the past week, rising from 1.4 trains/day as of 11/7 to 2.3 trains/day as of 11/14 (slightly above its long-term average level.) Petroleum, grain, and manifest trains (3.9 trains/day) were the only categories moving at rates above their long-term average level as of 11/14/22.

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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