Monday, November 30, 2009

Rail traffic rises to highest level this year

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The Association of American Railroads reports that in the week ended Nov. 21, freight traffic on U.S. railroads rose to its highes tlevel so far this year.

The Class I carriers originated 287,087 carloads of freight, down 6.8% from the same week in 2008 and down 0.7% from the same week in 2007. Volume increased 2.1% from the previous week this year. The comparison weeks from both 2007 and 2008 included the Thanksgiving holiday.

Intermodal traffic totaled 213,382 trailers and containers, down 3.1% from a year ago but up 11.5% from 2007. It was up 2.6% from the previous week this year.

While 13 of the 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year, there were increases in nonmetallic minerals (26.5%), grain (8.1%), chemicals (8.1%), waste and scrap metal (6.5 %), grain mill products (6.4%), and food and kindred products (0.4%). Declines in commodity groups ranged from 0.3% for petroleum products to 22.1% for crushed stone, sand, and gravel.

Total U.S. volume for the week ending Nov. 21 was estimated at 32.1 billion ton-miles, down 6.1% from the corresponding week last year but up 4.9% from 2007.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 72,120 cars for the week, down 4.5% from last year, and 43,085 trailers or containers, down 7.3%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 11,992 cars, up 1.3% from last year, and 6,410 trailers or containers, up 9.7%.