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%.