Friday, March 27, 2009

Freight traffic slump continues

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U.S. freight carload traffic remains mired by the nation’s economic woes, the Association of American Railroads says, down 14.7% for the week ended March 21 compared with the comparable week in 2008. Loadings were down 13.0% in the West and 17.0% in the East. Intermodal volume fell 12.9% from last year. Total volume of 29.3 billion ton-miles was down 13.6% from the year-ago period. Eighteen of AAR’s 19 carload freight commodity groups showed declines.

Canadian freight carloads fell 22.0% for the week, while intermodal declined 13.2%. Mexican railroads defied the overall weekly trend in carload freight, reporting an increase of 53.9% for the week, and a rise of 26.4% in intermodal traffic as well.

For the first 11 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads reported cumulative carload volume down 15.6%, and intermodal down a nearly identical 15.5%, compared with the comparable period in 2008. Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume was down 19.0% from last year, while intermodal fell 11.7%. Mexican railroads for the first 11 weeks saw carload traffic decline 6.6%, while intermodal also fell, by 17.6%.