Thursday, May 06, 2010

North American freight rail traffic keeps rising

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Carload and intermodal rail traffic continued to gain ground in all three reporting North American nations for the week ended May 1, 2010, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. AAR noted the rise was across all freight commodity categories.


U.S. carload freight rose 16.3% from the comparable week in 2009, though it still trails the 2008 period by 11.6%. U.S. intermodal traffic rose as well, up 13.2% compared with the year-ago period, still down 5.4% from 2008 levels.

Total U.S. volume was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7% from last year but still down 6.5% from 2008.  

Pacing the carload freight gains were a rise of 333.1% in metallic ore loadings. Loadings of metals were up 109.2%, scrap was up 67%, and coke gained 43.8%. Motor vehicles rose 25.8%.

Canadian railroads reported carload freight volume up 29.4% from the comparable week in2009, and a 15% increase in intermodal as well. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight rose13.3% from the comparable week in 2009, while intermodal advanced 11.7%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 8.2% from last year, while intermodal gained 10.2%.

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