Thursday, January 23, 2014

U.S. freight traffic rebounds strongly

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Up the first week in 2014, and down the second, U.S. freight traffic reversed the trend yet again to the plus side in the third week ending Jan. 18, 2014, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, Jan. 23.

U.S. freight carload traffic for the week rose 4.5% measured against the comparable week in 2013, while U.S. intermodal advanced 7.2%. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 557,253 carloads and intermodal units, up a significant 5.8% compared with the same week last year.

Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, also a significant sign of strong traffic, at least for the week. Gainers included nonmetallic minerals and products, up 20.9%, and petroleum and petroleum products, up 13.3% with 15,708 carloads, up 13.3 percent. Metallic ores and metals slipped 1.5%.

By contrast, Canadian freight carload traffic for the week ending Jan. 18, slipped 0.7%, though Canadian intermodal volume rose 2.6%. Mexican freight carload traffic for the week rose 6.0%, while Mexican intermodal volume gained 7.1%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first three weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads still trailed the comparable 2013 span by 1.7%. Combined North American intermodal volume for the first three weeks was in better shape, up a modest 0.7% compared to a year ago.