Thursday, March 21, 2013

U.S. freight traffic rises as winter ends

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U.S. freight carload traffic gained ground during the week ending March 16, 2013, up 0.5% measured against the comparable week in 2012, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday.

U.S. intermodal volume for the week also rose, up 0.7% compared with the same week last year—a relatively modest gain for the sector given its long-term rise, but nonetheless continuing its overall winning streak.

Combined U.S. traffic for the week was up 0.6% compared with the same week last year, AAR said. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum products, up 58.3%, and motor vehicles and parts, up 15.6%. Commodities showing a decrease were led by grain, down 19.2%.

Canadian freight carload volume for the week ending March 16 advanced 2% measured against the comparable week in 2012, while Canadian intermodal notched a gain of 8.1%. Mexican freight carload volume rose 8.7% for the week compared with 2012, while Mexican intermodal proved the North American spoiler for the week, down 10%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 11 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.7% measured against the comparable period in 2012. Combined North American intermodal was up 6.5% over 2012.