Thursday, August 22, 2013

U.S. freight traffic flexes mid-August muscle

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Both U.S. carload freight traffic and U.S. intermodal volume advanced during the week ending Aug. 17, 2013, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, Aug. 22, with total U.S. rail traffic rising 2.0% measured against the comparable week of 2012.

U.S. carload freight rose 0.5% for the week, while U.S. intermodal volume continued its robust growth, up 3.7% compared to volume last year.

Just four of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR posted gains, however, led once more by petroleum and petroleum products, up 19.6%. Commodities showing a decrease included grain, down 8%.

Canadian freight carload volume fared well, up 1.7% for the week ending Aug. 17 compared with a year ago. Canadian intermodal volume did better, up 4.9% for the week. Mexican freight carload volume excelled, up 11.8% for the week compared with 2012 levels, but Mexican intermodal volume slumped, down 6%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the 33 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads still lagged 2012 totals, down 0.3%. Combined North American intermodal volume for the period was up 3.5%.