Thursday, November 19, 2009

Class I rail traffic up slightly in latest week

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The Association of American Railroads Thursday reported a "slight improvement" in both carload and intermodal traffic on U.S. Class I railroads for the week ended Nov. 14. Rail carloads were up 2.3% from the previous week, and intermodal wasup 0.6%.

Compared with a year ago, however, traffic was still down. U.S. railroads reported originating 281,218 carloads for the week, down 8.9% from the corresponding week in 2008 and down 17% from the same week in 2007. Intermodal traffic totaled 208,056 trailers and containers, down 7.7% from a year ago and down  15% from 2007.

While 13 of the 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year, there were increases in nonmetallic minerals (19%), grain (16.1%), chemicals (8.5%), waste and scrapmetal (6.6%), food and kindred products (3.6%), and grain mill products (1.7 %). Declines ranged from 0.1% for motor vehicles and equipment to 51.7% for metallic ores.

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Nov. 14 was estimated at 31.6 billion ton-miles, down 7.9% from last year and down 11.2% from 2007.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 71,802 cars for the week, up 0.9% from last year, and 41,443 intermodal units, down 10.9%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,721 cars, up 1.3% from last year, and 6,775 trailers or containers, down 2.8%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 45 weeks of 2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 15,357,248 carloads, down 17.9% from last year, and 10,681,718 trailers and containers, down 15.9%.