Canada Freight Transport Report

Providing expert analysis, independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the freight transport industry.

Report includes: BMI Industry View, Industry SWOT Analysis, Industry Forecasts, Freight Transport Risk Reward Index, Macroeconomic Forecast, Company Profiles and Regional and Country Industry Overviews.

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Canada Freight Transport Report
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BMI View: We anticipate growth across all three freight sectors in Canada, with the rail sector achieving the highest levels of growth of 3.3% in 2016. This trend falls in line with signs of a general economic recovery in the country and growth in all key trade indicators, with total trade growing by 3.2% in 2016 and peaking at 3.5% in 2017. Canada will continue to trade primarily with the US and signs of economic recovery in the US should have a positive effect on demand for the country's goods.

We forecast real GDP growth of 1.5% in 2016, with business investment in machinery and equipment gradually replacing investment in the energy sector over the coming years. We forecast the weaker exchange rate and stronger US demand will see non-commodity goods exports rise and draw down inventories to an extent that businesses will step up their fixed investment in machinery and equipment, which stymies our Canada freight forecasts somewhat due to the US' place as Canada's top trade partner.

The implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), will impact Canada's freight industry significantly, easing up tariffs and customs controls and providing opportunity for a more efficient flow of goods. There is some resistance of the easing of tariffs on imported goods, particularly in the automotive industry, but there is general recognition that areas such as agriculture and manufacturing will benefit from the easing of trade controls..

The rail sector looks set to increase its growth rate at least until 2017. As part of its strategy, it is making moves to counteract a fall in demand for crude oil exports to the US by lowering shipment costs. This will help the rail sector compete with the pipelines and stimulate some growth in crude oil transportation.Road continues to dominate the freight mix in Canada due to the long-standing and well established links to the US. There will be some investment in infrastructure growth not least owing to the New Building Canada Plan which should boost road freight growth over the medium term. This will be complemented by the continuing low oil prices that should keep costs down for logistics companies while increasing consumer spending capacity.

Meanwhile, Canada's air freight sector will benefit from improved links with Asia and increased consumer spending particularly in electronics. This will help set air freight on a gradual growth trend,al though its share in the freight mix will gradually reduce slightly as road transport increases its dominance..

Recent Developments

  • Plans for a railway terminal outside Toronto aim to shift more freight away from US ports, roads and railways and onto Canadian railways.

  • Federal government has awarded Maine funding to improve speed and reliability of railway freight services.

  • GCT announces second phase of Deltaport Intermodal Yard Reconfiguration Project to meet demand for US and Canada.

  • Air China Cargo launches new air freighter service between China and Edmonton.

Key BMI Forecasts

  • We forecast total road freight volumes will rise by 3.73% y-o-y over 2016 to reach 617,15mn tonnes.

  • We forecast total rail freight volumes will rise by 2.98% y-o-y over 2016 to reach 191.8mn tonnes.

  • We forecast total air freight volumes will rise by 0.89% y-o-y over 2016 to reach 510,000 tonnes.

  • We forecast total trade value to rise by 3.20% y-o-y to reach USD986,70bn.

  • Top trade partners will be the US, China, UK, Japan and Mexico.

BMI Industry View
Freight Transport
Industry Forecast
Trade Forecast
Table: Trade Overview (Canada 2012-2019)
Table: Key Trade Indicators (Canada 2012-2019)
Table: Main Import Partners (2006-2013)
Table: Main Export Partners (2006-2013)
Road Freight Forecast
Table: Road Freight (Canada 2012-2019)
Rail Freight Forecast
Table: Rail Freight (Canada 2012-2019)
Air Freight Forecast
Table: Air Freight (Canada 2012-2019)
Market Overview
Company Profile
Air Canada Cargo
Canadian National Railway Company
Canadian Pacific Railway
Political Outlook
Domestic Politics
Table: Canada - House Of Commons Latest Seat Projections By Province
Table: Political Overview
Long Term Political Outlook
Oil Price Outlook
Europe - Brent On Board For A Bumpy Ride
Macroeconomic Forecasts
Table: Canada Macroeconomic Forecasts
Table: Average Oil Price Forecasts (USD/bbl)
Table: Private Consumption Forecasts
Table: Government Consumption Forecasts
Table: Fixed Investment Forecasts
Table: Net Exports Forecasts
Demographic Forecast
Demographic Outlook
Table: Population Headline Indicators (Canada 1990-2025)
Table: Key Population Ratios (Canada 1990-2025)
Table: Urban/Rural Population & Life Expectancy (Canada 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group (Canada 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group % (Canada 1990-2025)
Industry Forecast Methodology
Sector-Specific Methodology

The Canada Freight Transport Report has been researched at source, and features latest-available data covering commercial transport and logistics by road, rail, air and water; industry forecasts, company rankings covering leading national and multinational operators; and analysis of latest industry trends, opportunities, projects and regulatory changes.

BMI Research's Canada Freight Transport Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Canadian freight transport and logistics industry.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent freight transport industry forecasts on Canada to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the strategic freight transport market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in the Canadian freight transport sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Canada.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs, and latest activity).


BMI Industry View

Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis covering freight transport and logistics, regulatory changes, major investments and projects and significant national and multinational company developments.

Industry SWOT Analysis

Analysis of the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the freight transport sector and within the broader political, economic and business environment.

BMI Industry Forecasts

Historic data series (2008-2012) and forecasts to end-2019 for all key industry and economic indicators (see list below), supported by explicit assumptions plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast including:

  • Transport Sector: Total freight carried by road, rail, inland waterways, maritime, air and pipeline (mn tonnes-km/mn tonnes).
  • Trade: Exports and imports (USDmn) by category of goods (manufactured goods, food, chemicals etc.); top five import and export trade partners (USDmn); imports/exports to each global region (USDmn)
  • Port Data: Throughput (‘000 tonnes) for all major ports in the state.
  • Oil Products Prices: Price forecasts for gasoline and aviation fuel (USD/bbl) at all major global energy trading hubs.
  • Economic Indicators: Nominal GDP (USDbn); real GDP growth (%); GDP per capita (USD); industrial production (%); unemployment (%)

Market Overview

Details of the freight infrastructure in each state by segment (road, rail, air, water and pipelines). Full analysis of the competitive landscape within each segment.

Industry Trends and Developments

Analysis of the latest projects across the freight transport sector (road, rail, air, sea and logistics) including a market overview which provides an outline of the key elements driving development.

Political Outlook

The Freight Transport market reports contain a chapter detailing the political outlook of a given region, examining the domestic politics, long-term outlook and foreign policy, and assessing the impact this could have on freight and transport businesses.

Company Profiles*

Examines the short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate company SWOT analyses.

The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Freight Transport reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.