Thursday, March 15, 2012

AAR: U.S. freight traffic stays mixed

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U.S. freight traffic continued its mixed trends in the week ending March 10, 2012, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. U.S. freight carload traffic declined 4.8% for the week measured against the comparable week in 2011. By contrast, U.S. intermodal volume for the week was up 4.2% compared with the same week last year.

AAR said 11 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measured posted increases compared with the same week in 2011. Gainers were led by petroleum products, up 39.9%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 14.8%, and metallic ores, up 11.5%. Pacing the declining commodity groups were coal, down 13.1%, and coke, down 10.3%.

Canadian freight carload volume rose 4.8% for the week compared with the same week last year, while Canadian intermodal volume rose dramatically, up 16.8%. Mexican freight carload volume followed the U.S. lead, down 2.5% for the week compared with the same week last year, while Mexican intermodal also mirrored the U.S. counterpart, up 17.3%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 10weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 0.1% compared with the first 10 weeks of 2011. Combined intermodal volume was up 3.5% compared with last year.