Thursday, October 11, 2012

U.S. intermodal powers on in latest week

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U.S. freight carload volume for the week ending Oct. 6, 2012 notched another decline, down 6.3% from the comparable week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday. But U.S. intermodal continued its counterbalancing act, with volume up 3.8% during the week compared with a year ago.

AAR said 10 of the 20 carload commodity groups it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, up 46.1%, farm products excluding grain, up 30%, and lumber and wood products, up 11.2%. Groups showing declines compared with 2011 included coal, down 18.1%, iron and steel scrap, down 17.9%, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 11.5%.

Canadian freight carload volume also fell, but modestly, down 0.2% for the week ending Oct. 6 measured against the comparable week of a year ago. Canadian intermodal volume rose a robust 11.3%. Mexican freight carload volume advanced 3.4% compared with a year ago, while Mexican intermodal gained 17.5%.

Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 40 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled was down 1.5% compared with the same point last year, while combined North American intermodal volume was up 4.7%.