Friday, January 13, 2012

U.S. freight traffic slips as 2012 begins

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U.S. freight carload traffic fell 3.7% for the week ending Jan. 7, 2012, while U.S. intermodal volume plummeted 9.3%, both compared with the comparable week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday.

AAR reported that just five of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with metallic ores, up 29.2%, leading the pack. Leading the declining commodity groups was grain, down 20%.

Canadian freight carload traffic mirrored its American cousin, down 3.6% for the week, while Canadian intermodal volume fell 9.8%. Mexican freight carload volume joined the retreat, down 15.2% in the first week of 2012 compared with a year earlier. Mexican intermodal volume, however, rose 16.5%. 

Combined North American freight carload volume as 2012 began on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 4.1% compared with the first week of 2011, while combined North American intermodal also fell, down 8.8%.