Thursday, May 31, 2012

U.S. freight carload traffic, intermodal both gain

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In a welcome departure from past weeks, U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending May 26, 2012 notched an increase, up 1.3% measured against the comparable week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Thursday.

U.S. intermodal traffic continued its momentum, up 4.3% compared to the same week last year, AAR said.

AAR noted 16 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, also a stronger showing than in previous weeks. Among the gainers were petroleum products, up 51.6%, motor vehicles and equipment, up 29.2%, grain mill products, up 10.4%, and iron and steel scrap, up 10.4%. Grain volume remained among the declining groups, down 10%, joined by coal, down 6.3%.

Canadian freight carload volume also ran counter to recent trend, but in the oppositie direction, falling 10.8% for the week ending May 26 compared with the same week in 2011. Canadian intermodal also declined, down 11.5%. Mexican freight carload volume advanced 4.0% compared with the same week last year, and Mexican intermodal also grew, up 9.8%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 21 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.8% compared with the same period of time in 2011, while combined intermodal volume was up 4.1% compared with last year.