“Sharply down” is a recurring phrase in the weekly traffic reports of the Association of American Railroads. The latest report, for the week ended April 3, shows carload traffic down 22.4% from the corresponding week last year and intermodal traffic off by 17.8%.
There was marginal improvement from this year's previous week, with carloads up 2.1% and intermodal trailer/container loadings up 0.7%. Eighteen of 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year, with only the catch-all “all other carloads” category showing a 12.8% increase. Declines ranged from 8.0% for grain mill products to 62.4% for metals. Total ton-mile volume was down 21.1 % from 2008 but up 1.8% percent from the previous week this year.
Canadian railroads reported carload volume for the latest week down 23.5 % from last year, with intermodal traffic down 14.1%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 10,944 cars, down 5.7% from last year; intermodal traffic was up 0.5 %.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 16 weeks of 2009 was down 18.4% from last year, with trailer/container volume off 15.8.%.