Thursday, June 28, 2012

North American carload freight volume rallies

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Freight carload volume gained ground in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. during the week ending June 23, 2012, measured against the comparable week a year ago, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

U.S. freight carload volume, shaking off its recent slump, gained 1.4% compared with the same week last year. Canadian freight carload volume, doing better than its U.S. counterpart during 2012, rose 4.6% during the week, while Mexican freight carload volume gained 5.7% compared with the same week in 2011.

AAR said that for the U.S., 11 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 51.4%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 27.8%, and lumber and wood products, up 17.1%. Declining commodities included metallic ore, down 29.3%, and iron and steel scrap, down 14.2%. Coal fell a modest 0.4%.

Canadian freight carload traffic was up 4.6% for the week ending June 23 compared with the same week last year. Mexican freight carload traffic rose 5.7% compared with the same week in 2011.

Intermodal also rose in all three North American nations, scoring solid gains. U.S. intermodal volume continued its strong showing for the year in the latest week, up 4.8% compared with a year ago. Canadian intermodal advanced as well, up a robust 11.1% compared with the same week in 2011. Mexican intermodal completed the winning streak, up 17.1%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 25 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads still lagged behind 2011's volume for the comparable period, down 1.6%. Combined intermodal volume, though, was up 4.3% compared last year.

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