Friday, May 01, 2009

U.S. freight traffic still struggling

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U.S. carload freight traffic for the week ended April 25 remained lower than the comparable week one year ago, down 22.4%, according to the Association of American Railroads. AAR noted traffic rose 2.1% from the preceding week. But compared with year-ago levels, carload freight fell 20.7% in the West, 24.7% in the East.

U.S. intermodal volume slumped 17.8% from year-ago levels, though it, too, gained ground on the previous week, up a modest 0.7%.  Volume of 27.7 billion ton-miles, off 21.1% from a year ago but also up 1.8% from the previous week.

Canadian carload freight fell 23.5% for the week compared with last year, while intermodal retreated 14.1%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight fell a modest 5.7%, while intermodal actually gained ground, up 0.5%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 16 weeks of 2009 on U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads showed an 18.4% decline in carload freight traffic, and a 15.8% fall in intermodal traffic, compared to the comparable period in 2008.