Thursday, April 19, 2012

U.S. carload freight down again, intermodal up

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U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending April 14, 2012 continued to fall short of 2011 levels, down 6.4% measured against the comparable week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

U.S. intermodal volume continued its own trend of modest gains, up 1.1% for the week compared with the same week a year ago.

AAR said 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, including petroleum products, up 39%, metallic ores, up 16.7%, and motor vehicles and equipment, up 15.3%. Groups with signficiant declines included farm products excluding grain, down 28.1%, coal, down 18.2%, and grain, down 16.3%.

Canadian freight carload volume continued its own, more positive trend, up 5.2% for the week ending April 14 compared with the same week last year. Canadian intermodal also rose, up 13.8% compared with a year ago. Mexican freight carload volume declined 14.9% for the week, but Mexican intermodal advanced 25.2% compared to a year ago.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 15 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.8% measured against the comparable period in 2011. Combined intermodal volume was up 3.6% for the same period.

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