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.