Friday, December 18, 2009

Total traffic stays down, container volume up slightly

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The Association of American Railroads reported that total freight traffic remained down from 2008 levels for the week ending Dec. 12, 2009, though on the intermodal side there was a slight increase in container volume.

U.S. railroads originated 261,933 carloads during the latest week, down 10.2% from the corresponding week last year and down 18.5% from the same week in 2007.

Intermodal traffic added up to 204,950 trailers and containers, down 3% from a year ago and 14.3% from 2007. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume rose 3.6% and trailer volume dropped 24.5%. Compared with the same week in 2007, container volume fell 7.7% and trailer volume dropped 35.2%.

Twelve of the 19 carload commodity groups were down compared with the same week last year, but there were increases in grain mill products (16.1%), chemicals (14.8 %), metallic ores (14.7%) , motor vehicles and equipment (11.2%), grain (8.1%), waste and scrap metal (6 %), and nonmetallic minerals (2.2%). Declines ranged from 0.7% for farm products excluding grain to 24.9% for crushed stone, sand, and gravel.

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Dec. 12 was estimated at 29.3 billion ton-miles, down 9.8% from the same week last year and 13.3% from 2007.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 66,894 cars for the week, up 1.9% from last year, and 38,441 trailers or containers, down 7.4%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported originated volume of 12,583 cars, up 2% from the same week last year, and 6,768 trailers or containers, up 13.6%.