Thursday, August 16, 2012

U.S. “mixed weekly traffic” trend resumes

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U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending Aug. 11, 2012 fell 1.2% compared with the same week in 2011, while U.S. intermodal volume rose 3.2% compared with a year ago, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, as U.S. rail movement for the week resumed a yearlong standard trend.

AAR said 10 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 44.4%, lumber and wood products, up 19.8%, and motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.2%. Declining commodity groups were paced metallic ores, down 22%, and iron and steel scrap, down 11.1%.

Canadian freight carload traffic fell even harder than its U.S. counterpart, down 5.7%, counterbalanced by strength in Canadian intermodal volume, up 4.5%. Mexican freight carload volume slipped 0.5% for the week ending Aug. 11, but Mexican intermodal volume advanced 10.4%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 32 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.3% measured against the comparable period in 2011, while combined North American intermodal volume was up 4.6%.