Thursday, November 29, 2012

For U.S. rail freight, more of the same mix

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The Association of American Railroads Thursday once more reported mixed U.S. weekly rail traffic, this time for the week ending Nov. 24, 2012. U.S. freight carload traffic fell 4.6% measured against the comparable week in 2011, but U.S. intermodal volume continued its momentum, up 1.9% for the week.

AAR did note 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, a better result than many recent previous weekly results during 2012. Gaining groups included petroleum products, up 63.6%, farm products excluding grain, up 24.8%, and lumber and wood products, up 17.1%. Declining commodity groups included metallic ores, down 24.7%, grain, down 16.7%, and coal, down 12.2% compared with the same week a year ago.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads suffered significantly, down 8.2% compared with the same week last year. Western railroads did better, slipping 2.6% compared with one year ago.

Canadian freight carload volume rose 3.1% for the week compared with a year ago, while Canadian intermodal notched a 5.4% gain. Mexican freight carload volume also advanced, up 8.6%, while Mexican intermodal rose 20.3%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 47 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.9% from the comparable period of one year ago. Combined intermodal volume was up 4.5% for the period compared with 2011.