Thursday, December 10, 2009

Railroad ton-miles down 4.8% from last year

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The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that traffic volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Dec. 5 added up to an estimated 31.8 billion ton-miles, down 4.8% from the same week last year, and off 7.6% from 2007.

The railroads originated 284,177 carloads during the latest week, down 5.4% from the same week in 2008 and 13.3 % from the same week in 2007. (The AAR notes that in order to offer a complete picture of the progress in traffic, it is now comparing 2009 volume with both 2008 and 2007.)

Intermodal traffic, at 207,242 trailers and containers, was down 4.25% from 2008 and 13.6% from 2007.

Increases were reported in nine of the 19 carload freight commodity groups compared with the same week last year: nonmetallic minerals (25%), metals and products (17.1%), grain (14.1%), chemicals (13.9%), farm products not including grain (13.7%), motor vehicles and equipment (8.95), grain mill products (8 %%), metallic ores (1.3%), and waste and scrap metal (0.7%). Declines ranged from 0.6% for food and kindred products to 21% for crushed stone, sand, and gravel.

Canadian railroads reported 62,576 carloads for the week, down 12.4% from last year, and 39,608 trailers or containers, down 13.5%. Mexico’s two major railroads originated 12,393 carloads, down 4.8% from the same week last year, and 6,241 trailers and containers, up 0.8%.