U.S. freight carload traffic, which has shown strength in recent reports, fell 1.5% for the week measured against the comparable week in 2012. U.S. intermodal volume continued its growth, however, up 3.4% compared with the same week one year ago.
Due to intermodal's continued growth, total U.S. rail traffic for the week stayed in the black, up 0.8% compared with the same week last year.
Six of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures weekly posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 8.0%. Declining groups included grain, down 21.3%.
Canadian freight carload traffic did far better than its U.S. counterpart, up 6.5% for the week ending Sept. 21 compared with a year ago. Conversely, Canadian intermodal volume slipped 1.5%. Mexican freight carload traffic fell 12.1% for the week, with Mexican intermodal also retreating, down 10.8%.
Combined North American freight carload traffic for the 38 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 0.1% measured agains the comparable period in 2012, while combined North American intermodal volume gained ground, up 3.6%.