Thursday, February 20, 2014

U.S. freight traffic falters in latest week

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Both U.S. freight carload traffic and U.S. intermodal volume declined during the week ending Feb. 15, 2014, measured against the comparable week in 2013, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, Feb. 20.

U.S. freight carload traffic fell 2.9%, and U.S. intermodal volume also fell, down 5.7%. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic marked a 4.3% decline.

Only two of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013: petroleum and petroleum products, up 7.9%; and grain, up 2.5%. Declining commodities included nonmetallic minerals and products, down 10.6%.

Canadian freight carload traffic also fell back, down 9.5%, but Canadian intermodal volume found the plus column, up 2.8%. Similarly, Mexican freight carload traffic slipped, though more modestly at 1.1%, while Mexican intermodal rose 4.1%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first four weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican fell 2% percent compared with the same period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal volume also was down, 0.2%, compared with the same point last year.