Friday, April 17, 2009

Rail freight traffic slump continues

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The Good Friday holiday, added to ongoing bad weather in the Midwest and a struggling economy, pushed rail freight traffic numbers down for the week ended April 11, compared to the comparable week in 2008, the Association of American Railroads said.

U.S. freight carload traffic fell 24.5% from the comparable week last year, with loadings down 22.5% in the West and 27.3%. Intermodal volume fell 21.6% from last year. Volume of an estimated 26.4 billion ton-miles was off 23.7% from the 2008 level.

Canadian freight carload traffic fell 28.3% for the week compared with the year-ago period, while intermodal declined 24.6%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported freight railcar volume down 29.6%, while intermodal plunged 39.3%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 14 weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 17.7% from last year’s first 14 weeks; combined intermodal was down 15.6%.