Thursday, February 13, 2014

Back to mixed results for U.S. freight traffic

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Resuming a pattern predominant through 2013, U.S. intermodal volume gained ground, while U.S. carload freight fell short, during the week ending Feb. 8, 2014, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, Feb. 13.

U.S. freight carload traffic declined 4.3% when measured against the comparable week in 2013, while U.S. intermodal volume resumed it usual upside, rising a modest 0.6% from a year ago. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic slipped 2% compared with the same week last year.

Just four of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including farm and farm products excluding grain, up 5.8%, and grain, up 4%. Declining commodities included coal, down 8.4%.

Canadian freight carload traffic for the week ending Feb. 8 slumped sharply, down 12.2%, while Canadian intermodal fared somewhat better, down a modest 0.1%. Mexican freight carload traffic for the week declined 1.8%, while Mexican intermodal volume plunged 11.6%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first six weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.6% when measured against the comparable period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal, by contrast, was up 0.4% for the period.