Building for Growth: Trade, Rail, and Related Infrastructure

The Conference Board of Canada, 144 pages, April 7, 2016
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Canadian exports bound for Europe and Asia are increasing. This report explores whether or not Canada's rail-to-marine networks will be able to accommodate forecasted growth in freight rail volumes through 2025.

Document Highlights

Canadian exports bound for Europe and Asia are increasing, which will increase pressure on Canada's rail and marine freight infrastructure. The objective of this report is to explore whether or not Canada's rail-to-marine networks will be able to accommodate this growth through 2025. The report first details Canada’s recent and changing trade patterns in terms of commodities, their origins, and their destinations. Following that is a discussion of current rail capacity and performance, and marine port capacity in Canada. Next, the report explores the impact that petroleum products are likely to have on the rail system. Subsequently, we model the increase in freight rail volumes for 24 of Canada’s largest rail commodities through 2025. The report concludes by examining the ability of Canadian ports and railways to accommodate the forecasted growth.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1–Introduction

Chapter 2–Trade and Transportation Infrastructure

  • Recent Trade Trends
  • Value-Density of Trade
  • Markets and Commodities Pick Their Mode(s)

Chapter 3–Rail Service and Export Competitiveness

  • Understanding Supply Chain Logistics
  • Export Trends and Supply Chains
  • Rail and the Competitiveness of Canadian Exports

Chapter 4–Capacity of Rail and Related Infrastructure

  • What Is Rail Capacity?
  • System Efficiency
  • Railway Capacity Utilization
  • Responding to Seasonality and Annual Surges
  • Port Capacity
  • Financial Considerations for Capacity Investments

Chapter 5–Role of Hydrocarbons Through 2025

  • Crude Oil and Refined Products
  • Natural Gas

Chapter 6–Trade and Rail Volumes Through 2025

  • Recent Trade and Rail Volumes

Chapter 7–Handling Future Rail and Port Traffic

  • British Columbia Ports

Chapter 8–Conclusions

Appendix A–Bibliography

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