Friday, November 06, 2009

Traffic remains down, though four commodities edge upward

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The Association of American Railroads reported that for the week ended Oct. 31, U.S. railroads originated 275,439 carloads, down 13.7% from the same week in 2008 and down 18.2% from 2007. (In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in traffic, AAR is now reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year-over-year comparisons for both 2008 and 2007.)

U.S. intermodal traffic totaled 203,860 trailers and containers in the latest week, down 11.1% from a year ago and 15.5% from 2007.

While 15 of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year, there were increases in grain mill products (9.9%), chemicals (3.6%), waste and scrap metal (0.7 %), and nonmetallic minerals (0.3%).

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Oct. 31 was estimated at 31 billion ton-miles, down 12.7% compared with the same week last year and 13.2% from 2007.

Canadian railroads reported 71,023 carloads for the week, down 8.7 % from last year, and 42,869 intermodal units, down 12.2%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,952 cars, down 17.2% from 2008, and 7,087 trailers or containers, down 0.5 %.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 14,633,769 carloads, down 18.3% from last year, and 10,168,924 trailers and containers, down 16.2%.