Demand for rail shipping is seen rising rapidly, while the railways are showing their poorest performance in many months. As reported by the AG Transport Coalition, major shippers on the Prairies requested 12,257 cars in week eight or the week ended Sept. 25, increasing for a fourth week, while up 32% from last year and 23% higher than the three-year average.
At the same time, Canada's two major railways spotted only 70% of the cars wanted for loading during the week, down from 83% last week and the poorest performance seen since week 34 of the 2021-22 crop year, or the week ended March 27. CN spotted 83% of the cars wanted during the week wanted, with performance seen as inconsistent across its network. CP spotted only 61% of the cars wanted within the week wanted, while both railways were well below the threshold of 90%.
As seen on the attached chart, the 83% achieved by CN (blue line) is disappointing but in line with the three-year average at 84% (grey line). In contrast, the 61% of the cars spotted by CP Rail within the week wanted (brown bars) is seen diverging from the three-year average (yellow line) of 96%.
The number of combined outstanding orders has climbed from 2,102 cars to 2,391 cars as of week eight, with a reported 656 outstanding orders seen for CN Rail and 1,735 outstanding orders seen for CP Rail. CP cancelled 1,043 cars in week eight, while CN cancelled 110 cars over the week for a total of 239 cars over the first eight weeks, with more expected in week nine.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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