Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rebound still eludes U.S. freight traffic

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Freight traffic on U.S. railroads for the week ended June 20 still lagged 17.7% behind comparable levels from the same period a year ago, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. Intermodal volume was down a nearly identical 17.8% from the year-ago period. Total volume of an estimated 27.76 billion tons miles was down 16.6% compared with the same week in 2008.

Once again, 18 of 19 carload freight commodity groups charted by AAR were down from last year, with declines ranging from 1.8% for farm products other than grain to 65.4% for metallic ores. As in some previous weeks, the "all other carloads" category defied the overall trend, up 11.9%.

For the first 24 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume down 19.4% from the comparable 2008 period, while intermodal declined 16.9%.

Canadian freightcar traffic declined 23.7% for the week ended June 20 compared with the year-ago period, while intermodal fell 18.2%. For the first 24 weeks of 2009, Canadian volume slumped 24.1%, while intermodal fell 15.3%.

Mexico’s two major railroads reported freight car traffic down 8.1% for the week, and intermodal down 19.6%, compared with a year ago. For the first 24 weeks of 2009, Mexican freight car traffic slipped 14.2%, while intermodal slumped 20.9%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 24 weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 20.1% from the comparable 2008 period, while intermodal fell 16.8%.