Friday, November 02, 2012

U.S. traffic tanks, but intermodal remains up

Written by  Mischa Wanek-Libman, engineering editor

October's final week was not a busy one for U.S. railroads. The Association of American Railroads report for the week ending October 27, 2012, shows U.S. railroads originating 287,104 carloads, down seven percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 253,186 trailers and containers, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, which is an increase over the previous weeks numbers with only seven commodity groups posting increases. Highlights from those groups include farm products excluding grain, up 72 percent; petroleum products, up 52.7 percent and lumber and wood products, up 17.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 32.8 percent; grain, down 19 percent and coal, down 15.2 percent.

For the first 43 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,186,829 carloads, down 2.9 percent from the same point last year, and 10,220,272 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 81,679 carloads for the week, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 54,847 trailers and containers, up 6.2 percent compared with 2011. For the first 43 weeks of 2012, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,321,340 carloads, up 2.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,225,962 trailers and containers, up 7.1 percent from last year.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 16,126,785 carloads, down 1.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 12,876,326 trailers and containers, up 4.7 percent compared with last year.