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RAC Issues 2022 Rail Trends Report

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) has published the 30th edition of its Rail Trends report, providing a ten-year performance overview (2012-2021) of its member passenger and freight railroads.

RAC members include Class I railroads (six; Kansas City Southern is not included); short lines (38); and tourist (six), intercity passenger (two) and commuter (five) railroads. CN and Canadian Pacific account for the majority of freight rail activity; data reflects performance in Canada only.

The Rail Trends report (not affiliated with the annual conference conducted in New York City by analyst Tony Hatch) covers freight transportation; fuel; passenger transportation; safety; operating finances, investments and taxes; employment; and track and equipment.

Following are among the highlights of RAC’s report (download below):

  • Canadian freight railways transported half of our country’s exports in 2021, and a total of $350 billion worth of goods.

  • Canadian port dwell times increased by 42% since 2019, to an average of 104 hours in 2021. Despite the challenges, Canada’s Class 1 railways managed to maintain an average terminal dwell time of just 7.6 hours.

  • In 2021, prices for most goods and services increased, many significantly. Despite strong inflationary pressures, railways were a source of stability, as they maintained competitive freight rates throughout 2021. In fact, Canadian rail freight rates remained lower than rates in the U.S. and were amongst the lowest in the world.

  • Railways set another consecutive record in the safe transportation of dangerous goods – reducing the dangerous goods accident rate by 6.9% compared to 2020. In 2021, the total number of railway accidents was 2.6% below the 2016-2020 average.

  • Freight fuel efficiency improved by 1.2% to 704 revenue ton-miles per gallon – setting another consecutive record. Total rail industry fuel consumption was 2.8% below 2020 levels and 5.5% below the 2016-2020 average.

  • In 2021, railways invested $2.3 billion into their Canadian assets, bringing the total to $20.9 billion over the past 10 years.

  • RAC members also contributed over $1.9 billion in various taxes to Canadian governments, bringing the total to $16.9 billion over the past decade.

  • Employment increased by 3.0%, or 997 jobs, to 34,318 employees. The average wage in the industry increased by 1.3%, to $102,160.
RAC President and CEO Marc Brazeau

“This report underscores that rail is a backbone of Canada’s economy and a strong and healthy link in Canadian supply chains,” said RAC President and CEO Marc Brazeau. “Moving $350 billion dollars in goods and getting tens of millions of passengers where they need to be, Canada’s railways are the cheapest, safest, and best performing in North America and truly world-class–exactly as Canadians expect and deserve.”


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