Friday, February 12, 2010

Carload traffic shows strength relative to last year

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Though still trailing 2008 levels, U.S. freight carload traffic during the week ended Feb. 6 rose 1.4% compared with the same week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads reported. That still left traffic down 14.7% from the comparable week in 2008.

U.S. intermodal traffic showed similar relative strength, up 5.1% from the same week a year ago but still down 10.7% from the comparable 2008 period.

Fourteen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week last year, led by a 50.8% rise in metals and products movements. Other increases included nonmetallic minerals, up 40.1%; farm products other than grain, up 32%; coke, up 25.7%; and motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.9%. Notable declines include crushed stone, sand, and gravel, down 12.7%, and pulp, paper, and allied products, down 10.3%.

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Feb. 6 was an estimated  29.2 billion ton-miles, up 2.5% from 2009 levels but down 11.8% from 2008 figures.

Canadian railroads reported traffic volume up 9.3% from last year, with intermodal up 2.4 %. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload traffic was  up 11.4 % compared with 2008, while intermodal notched a 19.5% gain

Combined North American rail volume for the first 5 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 3.2% from the comparable 2009 period, while intermodal also rose, 3.8%, compared with the same period.