Thursday, March 27, 2014

U.S. freight traffic winning streak continues

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U.S. freight rail traffic perpetuated its growth momentum during the week ending March 22, 2014, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, March 27.

U.S. freight carload traffic during the week rose 4.5% measured against the comparable week in 2013, while U.S. intermodal volume, a stalwart, gained a robust 10.6%. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was up 7.3% measured against the same week a year ago.

It was the fourth week in the past five when when both freight carload traffic and intermodal volume gained ground over comparable weeks in 2013.

Showing a breadth of growth, nine of the 10 carload commodity groups measured by AAR on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013. Notable commodity gainers included grain, up 16%, and petroleum and petroleum products, up 10.3%. Spoiling the sweep (just barely, at that) among commodities was chemicals, down 0.2%.

Canadian freight carload volume for the week ending March 22 failed to match U.S. trends, down 2.2%. Canadian intermodal volume fared better, however, up 8% compared with one year ago. Mexican freight carload volume advanced 3.3% during the week compared with 2013, and Mexican intermodal also gained, up 6.9%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first 12 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads remained down 1.3% measured against the comparable 2013 period, while combined North American intermodal for the period was in positive territory, up 2.4%.