Thursday, April 08, 2010

Freight traffic gains sharply, up for sixth straight week

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U.S. railroads continued to notch gains in both carload and intermodal traffic during the week ended April 3 compared with levels  of a year ago, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

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Carload traffic rose for the sixth straight week, up 10.7% from the year-ago week, though still down 11.8% compared with the comparable period in 2008. Intermodal traffic rose for the 12th straight week, up 6.2% from last year’s levels, though still trailing the comparable 2008 week by 9.4%. Good Friday, which is observed as a holiday on many railroads, occurred during the 2010 week but not in the comparison weeks from 2009 and 2008, AAR noted.

Total volume for the week was estimated at 31.3 billion ton-miles, up 11% from last year, though down 9.3% compared with the comparable week in 2008.
 
Seventeen of 19 carload commodity groups showed gains from a year ago, with the largest coming from products associated with metals: metallic ores, up 104.2%;metals, up 84.1%; scrap, up 39.8%; and coke, up 30.3%. Motor vehicles and equipment rose 21.3%.

Canadian carload traffic for the week ended April 3 was up 14.8% from last year, while intermodal rose 6.1%. Cumulative volume on Canadian railroads has been ahead of year ago levels every one of the first 13 weeks this year.

Mexican carload traffic gained 4.3% over comparable 2009 traffic, while intermodal edged up a modest 0.4%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 13 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 5.2% from last year, with intermodal up 8.8% during the same span.