AAR noted all 19 carload commodity groups it tracks declined. Coal fell a relatively modest 0.8%, while metals led the decliners, down 57.3%.
For the first nine weeks of 2009, U.S. carload freight fell 15.8%, intermodal fell a near-equivalent 15.5%, and volume in ton miles fell 14.6%.
Canadian railroads suffered a similar fate, with carload freight down 18.3% in the first week of March vs.the comparable week in 2008. Intermodal fell 12.1% compared with a year ago. For the first nine weeks of 2009, Canadian carload freight declined 18.4%; intermodal fell 11.7%.
Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight down 4.8%, while intermodal plunged 27.5%. For the first nine weeks of 2009, carload freight fell 12.4%, while intermodal was down 21.4%, compared with the comparable period in 2008.
Combined North American rail volume for the first nine weeks of 2009 was down 16.1% from last year, with intermodal down 15.0% in the same period.