Service Update – All Modes
No service issues have bee reported since update #58. Air Canada has announced its cargo schedule update showing new routes and frequencies taking effect in October to a number of global destinations. The Air Canada schedule can be found at: https://www.aircanada.com/cargo/en/covid-19/
As noted last week, reports continue to be received of blanked sailings, containers delayed or “rolled” to a later sailing, and shippers having to pay premiums above contracted rates to maintain reserved positions. Regulators in several countries are reviewing the situation.
Reported by Splash on September 21, the shipping lines are reinstating some transpacific capacity. Splash is also reporting spot rates from Asia to the west coast of North America are close to US$4,000 per container, (not stated, but probably 40′ boxes). The Splash article can be found at
On volume, carloads were up 1.3% on the week compared to last year and intermodal was down 0.5% for the same comparison periods.
On September 21, FMA participated in the Transport Canada Commodity Supply Chain Table (CSCT) where the railways presented their actions in response to the pandemic and their recovery actions. The railway presentations reported on the equipment placed in storage, the staff layoffs and the actions taken to return equipment and staff to service with the growth in traffic beginning in the summer. Both CN a CP reported that they had advanced capital projects involving the rights-of-way due to reduced traffic in the spring and summer.
FMA and other members of the Coalition of Rail Shippers (CRS) continue to hear reports of service delays on CN, primarily related to bulk commodity carload traffic, but there are now reports of service improvements.
As reported at the CSCT session, CN laid off over 4,000 employees, including 2,800 train service people. They have been recalling staff and approximately 1,800 are now back in service. The labour agreements call for a 15-day advance notice of recall and then a one-week safety updating before they resume service. The CN CSCT presentation slides can be found at the first red bar below.
FMA and other members of the CRS are not hearing widespread complaints on CP service.
At the CSCT briefing, CP reported on their actions in response the pandemic and the recovery. CP laid off approximately 1,000 people and approximately half of the laid off staff have been recalled. CP took proactive action offering benefits to the laid-off workers in exchange for a return to work on shorter notice period than normal. The CP CSCT presentation slides can be found at the second red bar below.
No issues on trucking service have been reported at this time. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has issued a bulletin on the trucking industry actions to prevent he spread of COVID-19 and protect their drivers and customers. The CTA Bulletin can be found at
Supply Chain Commentaries
- AAR Canadian Rail Traffic Data – Week 38
- North American rail volume for the first 38 weeks of 2020 was 24,193,753 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.2 % compared with 2019.
- Canadian railroads reported 82,891 carloads for the week, up 1.3 %, and 74,331 intermodal units, down 0.5 % compared with the same week in 2019.
- For the first 38 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,316,735 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.9 %.
- The detailed statistics for week 38 can be found at the third red bar below.
- The graph at the fourth red bar below shows the trend of 2020 Canadian rail traffic in comparison to 2018 and 2019 volumes up week 38.
FMA Government Relations
FMA has continuing communications with Transport Canada Surface Policy and Marine Policy officials and with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) on Supply Chain recovery efforts. FMA also maintains a dialogue with the the Canadian Transportation Agency, which is the rail and marine regulator.
Information and questions from members are encouraged and will be useful in our continuing outreach to FMA members and in our communications with the government. At this time updates from members on recent rail service experience would be particularly helpful. Confidential reports can be sent to John Corey, FMA Vice-President at firstname.lastname@example.org
All individual company information will be kept confidential and only aggregated information will be used in communications with government officials.
FMA Office Operations
FMA staff are primarily working from home. If you need to talk with us, please call me at 613-294-4569.
Updates are on the FMA Website
The FMA COVID-19 updates continue to be uploaded to the website and there is a link to them on the home page at www.fma-agf.ca .
The FMA updates focus only on the impacts of COVID-19 on supply chains.
- CN Presentation to CSCT
- CP Presentation to CSCT
- Canadian Rail Traffic Week 38
- Total Rail Traffic Weeks 1-38