Thursday, March 13, 2014

AAR: U.S. freight traffic mixed as March starts

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U.S. freight traffic for the week ending March 8, 2014 was mixed measured against the comparable week in 2013, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, March 13.

U.S. freight carload traffic slipped 1.0% during the week compared to a year ago, while U.S. intermodal volume did better, up 3.7% compared with the same week in 2013. Total U.S. freight traffic fell 1.2%.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 11.3%. Declining commodities included motor vehicles and parts, down 6.7%.

(AAR noted U.S. Class I railroads originated 108,590 carloads of crude oil in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing total Class I crude oil originations for the year to 407,642 carloads, a 74% increase carloads originated in 2012. Crude oil accounted for 1.4% of total U.S. Class I originations, AAR said.)

Canadian freight carload traffic for the week ending March 8 fell sharply, down 11%, while Canadian intermodal fell less dramatically, down 2.4%. Mexican freight carload traffic slipped 1.1% for the week, while Mexican intermodal fell 3.4% short of its same-week total in 2013.

Combined North American freight carload traffic during the first 10 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.9% measured against the comparable period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal volume for the period, by contrast, was up 0.9%.