Thursday, February 16, 2012

AAR: U.S. freight traffic mixed in latest week

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U.S. carload freight traffic advanced 1.7% in the week ending Feb. 11, 2012, compared with the same week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. But U.S. intermodal volume failed to keep pace, slipping 0.4% when measured against the comparable week last year.

AAR said 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011. Gainers included: petroleum products, up 29.9%; crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 27.2%; and metallic ores, up 23.7%. Groups with declining numbers included nonmetallic minerals, down 26.3%, and farm products excluding grain, down 21.5%.

Canadian freight carload traffic rose a brisk 11.9% for the week compared with the same week last year, while Canadian intermodal volume did nearly as well, up 10.9%. Mexican freight carload volume for the week fared worse, down 2.4% compared with the same week in 2011, but Mexican intermodal volume advanced 20.5%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first six weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 1.9% when measured agains the comparable period in 2011. Combined North American intermodal volume for the same period was up 4.6% over last year.