Thursday, September 12, 2013

Second weekly gain in a row for U.S. traffic

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For a second straight week – and the third time in the last four weeks – U.S. freight carload traffic gained ground when measured against the comparable period in 2012, complementing the steady weekly advances of U.S. intermodal volume, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

AAR reported Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 that U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending Sept. 7 rose 2.2% measured against he comparable week in 2012. U.S. intermodal volume rose 6.7%. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week , which AAR notes included the Labor Day holiday, was up 4.2% compared with the same week in 2012.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, for once with petroleum products not pacing the gains by percentage basis; instead, motor vehicles and parts led the way, up 21.9%. Commodities showing a decrease included farm and food products, excluding grain, down 8.6%.

Canadian freight carload volume for the week rose as well, up 1.6% compared with a year ago, while Canadian intermodal roughly matched the robust U.S. category, up 6.5%. Mexican freight carload volume moved up 2.8%, but Mexican intermodal volume proved the spoiler among categories for the week, down 12.6%.

Combined North American rail volume for the 36 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 0.2% compared with the comparable period in 2012. Combined North American intermodal was up 3.7%.