Friday, February 27, 2009

Freight traffic declines yet again in latest week

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The slump continued for U.S. railroad freight traffic during the week ended February 21, compared with traffic in 2008, the Association of American Railroads reports. U.S carload freight fell 14.2% from the comparable week in 2008, with declines of 12.8% in the West and 16.0% in the East.

U.S. intermodal volume slid 23.4% from the year-ago period, though AAR noted the weekly data ending Feb. 21 were affected by the Lunar New Year, which did not occur in 2008. Total volume of 29.6 billion ton-miles was down 13.2% from 2008 levels. Canadian carload freight fell 13.7% during the week from the comparable week in 2008, while intermodal fell 15.7. Mexico’s two major railroads recorded a modest decline in carload freight of 1.3%, while intermodal slipped an equally modest 1.2%. Combined North American rail volume for the first seven weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican declined 16.2%, while combined intermodal traffic fell 14.3% from the comparable seven weeks of 2008.