Thursday, June 21, 2012

North American intermodal counters carload slump

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Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. intermodal volume increased for the week ending June 16, 2012, measured against the comparable week in 2011, even as freight carload volume fell in each nation, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

U.S. freight carload volume continued to struggle, down 2.5% for the week ending June 16. U.S. intermodal volume, by contrast, continued outdoing volume measured against the same week one year ago, up 5.2%.

AAR said 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 50.3%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 22.6%, and coke, up 11.1%. Declining commodities were paced by metallic ore, down 18.5%, nonmetallic minerals, down 15.2%, and iron and steel scrap, down 12.6%. Coal volume declined 8.9%.

Canadian freight carload volume mimicked its U.S. counterpart, down 3.0% compared with the same week last year, while Canadian intermodal advanced strongly, up 13.0%. Mexican freight carload volume fell 4.6% compared with the same week last year, but Mexican intermodal rose 19.5%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 24 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.8% compared with the same period of time in 2012, while combined intermodal was up 4.2% for the period.