RailState rail capacity report February 14-20, 2023

We’ve been reporting on rail capacity westbound into the Port of Vancouver for the last five months. For most of this period, the railways have appeared to be doing well with westbound movements toward Vancouver. During the week ended 2/20/2023, the railways continued to make a good recovery from the disruption that occurred on the westbound rail line into Vancouver (passing Chilliwack, BC) on 2/7 and 2/8.

Due to a very strong performance in the immediate aftermath of the disruption, the seven-day-average for train volumes westbound into Vancouver peaked at nearly 30 trains per day after the disruption. Volumes decreased slightly during 2/18-2/20, but the average for the week ending 2/20 was 27.4 trains/day, an increase of 1.0 trains/day from the average of 26.4 trains/day for the week ending 2/13.

Rail Capacity for Trains Moving Westbound to Port of Vancouver January 2022 to February 20 2023

Observations for Week (2/14/2023-2/20/2023):

  • The 7-day moving average number of trains moving westbound past Chilliwack was 27.4 trains/day, significantly above the average of 25.7 trains/day that is required to move the typical volume of all commodities.
  • 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 2/20/2023, the 7 day moving average for total trains increased by 1.0 trains/day, rising from from 26.4 trains/day as of 2/13 to 27.4 trains/day as of 2/20.

As of 2/20/2023, rail traffic in four of the seven categories we track was above its long-term average level. Manifest trains (4.6 trains/day), grain (6.7 trains/day), coal (5.4 trains/day), and other traffic (1.1 trains/day), were all above their 2022 average levels. Only intermodal traffic (7.0 trains/day), potash (1.3 trains/day), and petroleum (1.3 trains/day) were below their 2022 average levels, with intermodal traffic remaining below its long-term average level for the fifteenth week in a row .

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

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