Rail shipment from Canada to the U.S. resumes to decline after ports strike

July 28, 2023: Rail traffic from Canada into the U.S. had a third-straight weekly decline because of the on-again, off-again strike at the West Coast Canadian ports.

The vessel and container traffic is raising concerns for chemical companies with critical materials stuck. As a result, creating supply chain issues.

The previous week’s total rail volume from Canada to the U.S. was down 12%, according to The Association of American Railroad’s latest rail traffic report for July 22. This was an improvement given the first whole week of the strike experienced a 46% decrease in rail trade from Canada, and the second week suffered a 36% decrease.

The table shows statistics for Canadian rail traffic 2023 as of the week ending.

There are now nine containerships waiting at the Port of Vancouver, and the average wait time to get into the port is 7.8 days, according to MarineTraffic data. Six container vessels are anchored at the Port of Prince Rupert, and the middle wait to get into port is 8.9 days.

The Railway Association of Canada initially estimated that it would take three to five days every day the strike lasted for networks and supply chains to recover.

When the first strike ended on its thirteenth day, delays for rail containers were estimated at 39 to 66 days. Adding another day with the on-again, off-again strike last week brings the congestion removal tally up to 42-70 days.

“Delays appear to be bearing out toward the mid-to-upper end of that range,” a Railway Association of Canada spokesperson wrote.

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Rail shipment from Canada to the U.S. resumes to decline after ports strike