Thursday, November 15, 2012

U.S. freight traffic trends resume familiar mix

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U.S. freight rail traffic resumed its 2012 norm during the week ending Nov. 10, 2012—gains intermodal, declines in carload freight—the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. The resumption of a yearlong pattern followed a week where Hurricane Sandy impacted both freight carload and intermodal traffic volume.

In the latest week, U.S. freight carload volume fell 5.4% measured against the comparable week in 2011. Intermodal resumed its advance, up 1.9% for the week compared with one year ago.

More carload commodity groups (12) advanced in the week ending Nov. 10 than in prior weeks, according to AAR. Gainers included petroleum products, up 45.5%, farm products excluding grain, up 24%, and motor vehicles and equipment, up 13.6%. Declining commodities included metallic ores, down 20.9%, coal, down 15.5%, and grain, down 9.8%.

Canadian freight carload volume broke even with volume from the comparable week in 2011, while Canadian intermodal volume rose 9%. Mexican freight carload volume advanced 3.2% for the week ended Nov. 10, while intermodal did even better, up 14.7%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 45 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.9% compared with the same point last year, while combined intermodal rose 4.5%.