Thursday, September 13, 2012

AAR: U.S. “mixed traffic” trend rolls on

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U.S. freight carload traffic fell 2.3% during the week ending Sept. 8, 2012, measured against the comparable week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said Thursday. U.S. intermodal volume for the week remained strong, as it has throughout 2012, up 3.1% compared with the same week last year.

AAR said 11 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases during the week, compared with the same week in 2011. Gainers included petroleum products, up 64.2%, farm products excluding grain, up 61.4%, and crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 15.2%. Declining commodities included iron and steel scrap, down 21.8%, metallic ores, down 16.7%, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 15.1%. Coal declined 9.1%.

Canadian freight carload volume continued to fare better than its U.S. counterpart, up 2% compared with the same week last year. Canadian intermodal volume also rose, up a robust 7.3%. Mexican freight carload volume also did well, up 5.1% compared with the same week last year, while Mexican intermodal volume gained a similar percentage, up 5.8%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 36 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.3% when measured against the comparable time period in 2011, while combined North American intermodal volume for the first 36 weeks was up 4.7%.