Railways will need to invest $5B to keep up with shipping demand, says CERI

The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates railways in the country will require about $5 billion of investment over the next five years to keep up with demand, including increased shipments of oil. 

If new pipeline projects don't come online, CERI estimates crude-by-rail will almost double from its current level of about 400,000 barrel per day. 

"Crude will be in the Top 5 commodities if those pipelines aren't built," said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research for CERI, referring to nationwide shipping. 

Currently, the Canadian Top 5 list includes:

  • Coal.
  • Forest products.
  • Miscellaneous.
  • Minerals.
  • Plastic and chemical products.

Even with the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Line 3 and Keystone XL, the institute still foresees growth. 

Shipments in Alberta of petrochemicals — everything from propane to plastic pellets — are also expected to grow, but agricultural products will continue to top the provincial list of goods shipped by rail.