AAR said 17 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 33.2%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 31.5%, and petroleum products, up 28.9%. Declining commodities were led by grain, down 10.1%.
Canadian freight carload traffic rose 9.8% for the week ending Jan. 14, while Canadian intermodal did even better by percentage, up 15.5%. Mexican freight carload traffic, by contrast, fell 21.3% during the week compared with a year ago, but Mexican intermodal volume advanced 20.5%.
Combined North American freight carload volume for the first two weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 741,662 carloads, up 0.5% compared with the first two weeks of 2011. Intermodal volume edged up 0.1% for the first two weeks, compared with 2011.