Transportation: Forest products railroad freight stable in US, lower by 7% in Canada

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Transportation: Forest products railroad freight stable in US, lower by 7% in Canada

April 13, 2018 - 18:48
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OAKLAND, CA, April 13, 2018 (PPI Pulp & Paper Week) -Total North American forest products railroad freight was down 2.5% through 14 weeks of 2018 ending Apr. 7 from a year ago at 239,542 carloads, the Assn of American Railroads (AAR) reported. Volume was down 3.7% in the latest week at 17,370 carloads.

US forest products freight was up 0.7% through Apr. 7 to 140,317 carloads and in the recent week was down 0.7% to 9,870 units. Canada freight was down 7.4% year-to-date to 98,166 carloads, and in the week was 8.6% lower to 7,367 carloads. Mexico's relatively small volume was 212.4% higher through Apr. 7 to 1,059 carloads and in the week was 329% higher to 133 units, AAR reported.

Canadian rail shipments are being impacted by a decline in softwood lumber exports to the USA following an imposition of US tariffs, and by rail freight delays especially in the West, according to reports. British Columbia softwood exports to the USA were down 20% in the first quarter and Quebec's were down 16.6%,The Globe and Mailreported this week.

Total North American carloads for 14 weeks were off 0.4% to 4.93 million units, AAR showed.

Major rail carriers reported mixed forest products freight volumes through Apr. 7.

Canadian National, the largest carrier of forest products in North America, reported pulp and paper freight was down 6.1% and lumber was 8.5% lower from a year ago. BNSF showed increases of 6.4% and 5.9%, respectively.

Canadian Pacific reported total forest products freight was up 2.2% year-to-date to 18,133 carloads. Genesee & Wyoming showed its February pulp and paper freight rose 6.8% to 12,863 carloads and lumber/forest products was 7.8% higher to 11,480 carloads. The company acquired Heart of Georgia Railroad in May 2017.