Thursday, July 23, 2009

U.S. freight traffic remains sluggish

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U.S. freight traffic continued to struggle for the week ended July 18, the Association of American Railroads reported, down 17.9% compared with the comparable week in 2008. AAR did note, however, that rail carloadings were at their highest level in 15 weeks. Intermodal volume of 189,541 trailers or containers also fell 18.8% from the comparable week last year. Total volume of 28.7 billion ton-miles was down 17.3%.

Seventeen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year. Farm products other than grain gained 19.8% compared with year-ago levels.

Canadian railroads reported volume down 24.4% from year-ago levels, while intermodal fell 22.3%. Mexican rail freight volume slipped 7.3%, while intermodal dropped 21.1%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 28 weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 19.9%. Intermodal fell a comparable 17.1% during the same period compared with 2008 levels.