Thursday, December 12, 2013

U.S. intermodal up, carloads down, in latest week

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U.S. freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 7, 2013 returned to a pattern seen most often in the first three quarters of the year, but not much recently: gains in intermodal volume, declines in carload traffic.

U.S. freight carload traffic for the week fell 4.4% measured against the comparable week in 2012, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday, Dec. 12. U.S. intermodal for the week continued its strong performance, up 9.4% compared with last year, and helped power total U.S. freight traffic for the week to a 1.8% advance.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum and petroleum products, up 18.6%, and grain, which has surged in recent weeks, up 10.4%. Declining commodities included coal, down 13.3%.

Canadian freight carload volume for the week ending Dec. 7 mirrored the U.S. counterpart, , down 4.0 percent, while Canadian intermodal volume rose 5.0%. Mexcian freight carload volume slipped 0.2%, with Mexican intermodal also retreating, down 7.7%.

Combined North American rail volume for the 49 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 0.3% compared with the same period in 2012, while combined North American intermodal activity rose 4.3%.