Thursday, May 17, 2012

U.S. carload traffic still down; intermodal still up

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The trends, both good and bad, continue for U.S. freight traffic ending the week of May 12, 2012, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday. U.S. freight carload traffic fell 5.2% from levels recorded in the same week one year ago, while U.S. intermodal volume notched another weekly gain, up 3.1%, compared with the same week in 2011.

AAR said 10 of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led petroleum products, up 49%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 35.7%, and lumber and wood products, up 20.3%. Coal led the declining commodities, off 16.2%, while nonmetallic minerals fell 15.4% and grain declined 11.4%.

Canadian freight carload volume kept its positive momentum for the year, up 3.4% in the week ending May 12, while Canadian intermodal also advanced, up 7.2%. Mexican freight carload volume rose as well, up 6.2%, and Mexican intermodal volume notched a 16.2% gain.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 19 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.8% compared with the same point last year, while combined intermodal volume for the period was up 4.2%.