Thursday, July 03, 2014

U.S. freight traffic wraps up good June

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U.S. freight traffic wraps up good June Bruce Kelly

U.S. freight traffic scored gains in the final full week of June ending June 28, 2014, capping off a full month of advances, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, July 3.

U.S. freight carload traffic for the week surged 6.3% measured against the comparable week in 2013, while U.S. intermodal volume for once lagged behind on a percentage basis, still scoring a gain of 6% over levels of a year ago. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 28, 2014, rose 6.2%.

All 10 of the carload commodity groups AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases measured against year-ago levels, including petroleum and petroleum products, up 18.5%, grain, up 12.9 percent, and nonmetallic minerals and products, up 10.7%.

Canadian freight carload traffic rose 11% during the week ending June 28, 2014, while Canadian intermodal volume advanced 9.1%. Mexican freight carload traffic, by contrast, declined 4.8% compared with the same week last year, while Mexican intermodal volume gained 2.5%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first 26 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 2.4% measured against the comparable period in 2013, while combined North American intermodal volume also was up, 5.9%.

AAR noted June's final week solidified U.S. rail traffic gains for the month of June, with freight carload traffic up 3.6% from June 2013 levels, and intermodal up 6.7% from a year ago. 2011. Total freight carloads were "the highest weekly average for June since 2008," AAR said.

AAR said 17 of the 20 commodity categories it tracks on a monthly basis saw year-over-year carload increases, identical to May's breakdown.

"All in all, June was another good month for rail traffic," said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. "The fact that most categories of rail traffic were up in June, and that intermodal set a new volume record, supports the view that the economy is rebounding at a decent pace. Railroads will continue to do their part in ensuring this continues."