Intermodal Container Volume Eastbound from Vancouver CN and CPKC Mid-June 2023

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

The first half of June showed moderate changes in overall intermodal volume coming into Canada. A total of 31,663 containers entered through the western ports. If similar volume continues through the end of the month, it would be a modest drop in total volume (5.56%) compared to May. Average daily volume for June is 2,111 containers per day, a drop of 2.41% from May

This drop in volume has not been evenly split between the two main carriers. Volume on CPKC increased in May and that trend continues into June. Average daily volume on CPKC is up 9.28% in the first two weeks of June to 1,156 containers per day. This is the highest volume on CPKC since August 2022. 

Intermodal traffic on CN showed a different story in early June. Total volume is down 16.4% from May and average daily volume is 955 containers per day, a drop of 13.6% from last month. 

This is the first month since July 2022 that CPKC carried more intermodal traffic than CN.

Differences Between Railways


CPKC is running a consistent number of trains in June as it did in May, at a pace of about 4 trains per day. These trains are carrying more in June, however. CPKC trains are carrying an average of 294 containers per train in June. In May, these trains averaged 16 fewer containers per train.

Intermodal Train Volume Eastbound from Vancouver CN and CPKC Mid-June 2023


CN trains average 256 containers per train in June. This is a 9.7% drop in containers per train from May. This is similar to the lower volume seen in the winter, and 22% below the peak volume of 329 containers per train in June of last year.

Intermodal Containers Per Train CN and CPKC Mid-June 2023

Container Sizes


In addition to carrying a higher number of containers in June, CPKC is also carrying larger containers. The larger 53-foot containers account for 18.6% of CPKC’s volume. In May, 16.1% of containers on CPKC trains were these large containers.

Container Mix - CPKC Mid June 2023


CN also carries a slightly larger percentage of 53-foot containers in June, 14% this month compared to 12% in May. The standard 40-foot containers still account for the vast majority of volume but CN does skew more to the shorter 20-foot containers, which account for 20% of traffic on CN.

Container Mix CN Mid-June 2023

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