Industry posts improved safety performance, increased fuel efficiency
OTTAWA, Dec. 29 /CNW/ - Canadian railways have prepared for the current
economic rebound with sizable industry investments to support greater
efficiencies and improved customer service the Railway Association of
Canada (RAC) reported today.
Traffic improved in 2010 with weekly carloads continuing to show strong
gains for Canadian railways from 2009 levels. Cumulative volume in
mid-December reached almost 3.6 million carloads, up 17 percent from
last year. "The rail industry is hopeful of continuing economic growth
with robust traffic levels. We're ready to help move Canada's economy
forward," said RAC President Cliff Mackay.
In its 2010 Railway Trends annual report the RAC noted that in 2009 Canada's rail businesses
invested $1.5 billion in capital additions to property, a $133 million
or almost 10 per cent increase over 2008. This is the first time in
history that railways increased capital spending during an economic
downturn. Plant modernization programs included expenditures to upgrade
infrastructure, acquire locomotive, freight and passenger cars, and
purchase new information technology.
Expenditures of $706 million on track and roadway additions represented
almost half of total spending. The second highest capital additions
category involved rolling stock additions, with $317 million a $27
million, or 9.3 per cent, hike in spending compared to 2008 and $54
million, or 20.5 per cent more expenditures, than in 2000.
"Capital programs for the renewal of rail infrastructure and the
acquisition of rolling stock and other investments contribute to growth
opportunities as well as to improving rail's productivity and the
fluidity of rail networks," Mackay said. "Railways finance, maintain
and pay taxes of their networks, investing an average of 20 per cent of
revenue in total capital projects annually to provide quality service
and to improve transit times for customers who benefit from some of the
lowest freight rates in the world.
"That's why regulatory stability and certainty are essential to a
financial environment in which significant rail investments can be
confidently made to support the continuing importance of rail in the 21st century as the backbone of a cost-effective, efficient and reliable
transportation supply chain and to move the Canadian economy," Mackay
Railways were affected by the global economic slowdown in 2009, which
reduced shipments as well as intercity passenger, rail commuter and
tourist train travel.
With the exception of agriculture and manufactured and miscellaneous
goods, the movement of freight goods fell 11.1 per cent year-over-year,
with the most severe declines coming from lower minerals, metals and
The number of passengers travelling on intercity trains in 2009 fell 7.4
per cent from the prior year level. Commuter train ridership declined
1.6 per cent.
Total industry revenue of $9.6 billion declined $1.6 billion, or 14.3
per cent, year-over-year. Freight revenue, the largest component of
industry revenue, fell $1.5 billion, or 15.2 per cent, to its lowest
level since 2004. The decline in passenger revenue was less severe,
down $34 million or 5.1 per cent from 2008. Other revenue for 2009,
almost totally generated by freight rail, experienced a $40 million or
6.9 per cent reduction from the year prior.
Total operating income of $1.2 billion fell $0.8 billion or 38.6 per
cent in 2009 compared to 2008 as the $1.6 billion revenue decline was
only partially offset by the $0.8 billion reduction in operating
expenses. The industry recorded its lowest operating income of the past
The industry achieved noteworthy improvements in its safety statistics
in 2009, by both freight and passenger rail. Compared to 2004, freight
rail lowered the number of federally and provincially-regulated freight
rail-related accidents by a third to 1,121 accidents in 2009 from 1,681
accidents in 2004. The accident rate, representing the number of
freight train accidents, fell to a five-year low of 2.8 in 2009 from
3.8 in 2004, an impressive 26.3 per cent improvement.
Passenger rail recorded 67 train accidents in 2009, down from 80
accidents in 2004. The number of accidents per million
passengers/commuters tumbled to 0.95 in 2009 from 1.35 in 2004, a
remarkable 40 per cent improvement.
Environment - efficient, effective, sustainable
Rail industry fuel expenses fell a remarkable $820 million or 40.4 per
cent in 2009 from the year earlier. Two factors were responsible for
this result - consumption declined by 14 per cent, and the price of
fuel fell by more than 30 per cent. The decline in fuel consumption
exceeded the reduced workload of the industry, underscoring the success
of the industry's ongoing fuel conservation practices.
The industry's ongoing renewal of its fleets, replacing older
locomotives with higher horsepower, more fuel-efficient locomotives,
contributed to strengthening rail's position to meet the challenge
facing Canadian communities and industries by offering environmentally
sustainable transportation today and into the future. Currently, the
transportation sector, the largest single source of GHGs, contributes
27 per cent of GHGs produced in Canada. Canada's rail business moves
75 per cent of the surface freight on a tonne-kilometer basis but
produces only three percent of transportation sector GHGs.
"Our significant investments and innovations are strengthening the
backbone of the transportation system, making it safer and more secure
to ensure the Canadian economy successfully grows by providing our
customers with easy access to national and international markets to
compete in the 21st century and move the Canadian economy," Mackay
concluded. "We are doing so in an environmentally efficient way that
benefits our communities by relieving road congestion and helping to
limit harmful emissions that cause harm to our environment."
About the Railway Association of Canada
The Railway Association of Canada represents some 50 freight, tourist, commuter and intercity Canadian
railways, their more than 35,000 employees, and over 45 associate
suppliers and partners. Rail moves more than 70 million people and 75
per cent of our nation's goods annually in an environmentally
sustainable manner, generating only three per cent of the transport
sector's greenhouse gas emissions.
SOURCE Railway Association of Canada
For further information:
Paul Goyette, Railway Association of Canada, Tel.: 613 564-8097