Thursday, January 14, 2010

Carload and intermodal traffic post double-digit declines

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U.S. freight rail traffic in the early days of 2010 remained mired in the minus column when compared with the same period of 2009 and 2008, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

The  236,796 carloads originated by U.S. railroads for the week ending Jan. 9 represented a decline of 12.4% from 2009, when the recession was already well under way, and a drop of 28% from the non-recession week of 2008.

The intermodal count--196,788 trailers andcontainers--was down 3.6% from a year ago and 17.4% from 2008.

Eleven of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up from the same week last year, ranging from 5.5% for lumber and wood products to 94% for metallic ores. Declines ranged from 36.6% for crushed sand, stone, and gravel to 0.1 % for the "all other carloads" category.

Total U. S. rail freight volume  for the week ending Jan. 9 was  estimated at 25.5 billion ton-miles, down 12.4% from the same week last year and also down 25.9% from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported a weekly and cumulative volume of 67,333 cars for the first week of the year, up 20.4% from last year, and 43,033 trailers or containers, up 0.2% from 2009.

Mexican railroads reported a weekly and cumulative volume of 12,123 cars for the first week of the year, up 32.1% from last year, and 5,722 trailers or containers, up 44.4%.