Thursday, February 23, 2012

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

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U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending Feb. 18, 2012 declined 5.2% measured against the comparable week in 2012, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. U.S. intermodal volume for the week also retreated, down 5.6%, compared with the same week last year.

AAR said 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups it monitors posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 25.9%, and lumber and wood products, up 22.9%. Commodities posting a decline included coal, down 13.9%, and farm products excluding grain, down 13.4%.

Canadian freight carlod traffic for the week ending Feb. 18 did better, up 6.6% compared with the same week in 2011. Canadian intermodal volume also advanced, up 9.4%. Mexican freight carload volume followed the U.S. lead, though not as sharply, down 2.0% compared with the same week last year. Mexican intermodal mimicked and bettered its Canadian counterpart by percentage, up 18.4%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first seven weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 1.2% compared with the same period in 2011, while intermodal volume was up 3.6%.