AAR said 14 of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 47%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 31.2%, and lumber and wood products, up 23.1%. Declining commodity groups included grain, down 22.7%, farm products excluding grain, down 11.9%, and, of no surprise but still general concern, coal, down 10.1%.
Canadian freight carload volume again did relatively better than its U.S. counterpart category, up 4.1% compared with the same week last year. Canadian intermodal volume did even better, up 9.4%. Mexican freight carload volume eked out a 0.1% gain for the week, while Mexican intermodal roughly mirrored the Canadian gain by percentage, up 9.7%.
Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 18 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.7% measured against the comparable 2011 period. Combined intermodal, though, was up 4.2%.