Thursday, March 04, 2010

U.S. carload freight (except coal) shows vigor

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U.S. carload freight traffic reached its highest level inmore than a year during the week ended February 27, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday, though coal lagged behind. U.S. carloads for the week were up 2.6% from the comparable 2009 period, notching the “highest level reported since the week ended Dec. 6, 2008,” AAR noted; they still fell below the 2008 week’s total by 13.5%.

U.S. intermodal traffic reached its highest level so far this year, up 17.5% from last year, though still down 8.1% from the comparable week in 2008.

Total volume for the week was estimated at 31.6 billion ton-miles, up 3.9% from last year but down 10.5% from 2008.

Eastern U.S. carloadings rebounded, gaining 3.3% compared with 2009, still off 16% compared with 2008. Western U.S. carloadings gained 2% from 2009, trailing 2008 levels by 11.7%.

Fifteen of 19 carload commodity groups showed gains from a year ago, with 10 registering double-digit percentage increases. Coal loadings, however, were off 6.5%; the “all other carload” category fell 15.7%.

Canadian railroads carloadings rose 12.2% from last year, with intermodal also up 11% from 2009. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carloadings rose 17% from the same week last year, while intermodal climbed 59.2%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first eight weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 2,818,429 carloads, up 2.1% percent from last year, and 2,001,824 trailers and containers, up 6.5% from last year.

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