Thursday, April 29, 2010

U.S. carload, intermodal traffic score gains in latest week

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Both U.S. carload freight and intermodal traffic showed strength in the week ended April 24, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday. Carload volume was at its highest level since the first week of December 2008, while weekly intermodal volume reached its highest level this year, AAR said.

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U.S. carload freight was up 14.6% from the corresponding week in 2009, while still down 10.8% from the comparable week in 2008. U.S. intermodal traffic rose 15.1% from last year but trailed the 2008 total by 5.4%.

All 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by gains in commodities associated with the steel industry: metallic ores, up 163%; metals, up 80.2%; waste and scrap, up 59.7%; and coke, up 12%.

Other notable increases included 25.3% for motor vehicles and equipment; 45.% for primary forest products; 22.8% for lumber and wood products; and 13.1% for chemicals. 

Canadian carload freight for the week ended April 24 was up 22.5% from the comparable period in 2009, while intermodal traffic rose 10.1%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight rose 27.3% from the comparable 2009 week, while intermodal inched up 4.8%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 16 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 7.6% from last year, while intermodal advanced 9.9% from a year ago.