Thursday, October 10, 2013

Intermodal powers U.S. freight traffic gains

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U.S. intermodal volume continued its winning ways in the week ending Oct. 5, 2013, while U.S. freight carload volume, improving in recent weeks, slipped, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, Oct. 10.

U.S. freight carload volume fell 1.6% when measured against the comparable week in 2012, AAR said. Intermodal volume, by contrast, scored a healthy 6.2% gain during the week, up for the 14th week in a row, and helping to power a weekly gain for total U.S. rail traffic, up 2.1% compared with the same week last year.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including motor vehicles and parts, up 12.3%, and metallic ores and metals, up 10.1%. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included coal, Down 11.4%.

Canadian freight carload volume grew robustly, up 8.4% compared with the same week last year, while Canadian intermodal volume also did well, up 4.4%. Mexican freight carload volume mirrored its U.S. counterpart, declining 1.1% for the week ending Oct. 5, and Mexican intermodal volume also retreated, down 7.5%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the 40 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 0.1% compared with the comparable period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal volume was up 3.7%.