Thursday, April 22, 2010

U.S. rail carload volume at highest level in 16 months

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The Association of American Railroads said Thursday that rail carload volume in the United States last week reached its highest level since the week ended Dec. 6, 2008.

U.S. railroads originated 296,599 carloads during the weekended April 17, up 16.1% from the comparable week in 2009, said the AAR. Itnoted, however, that volume was still down 11.6% from the same week in 2008.

U.S. intermodal volume in the latest week added up to 209,903trailers and containers, up 14.6% from last year but down 6.3% from 2008.

Eighteen of 19 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by a 177.5% increase in metallic ores. Other increases included 68.8% metals, 49% for motor vehicles and equipment, 46.4% for nonmetallic minerals, and 34.5% for primary forest products. Grain was up 12.2%, and coal gained 9.6%. The only commodity still in decline was pulp, paper, and allied products, down 6.7%.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 74,029 cars for the week, up 24.3%, and 47,550 trailers and containers, up 14.8%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported originated volume of 13,624 cars, up 27.8% from last year, and 7,140 trailers and containers, up 42.3%.

Combined North American volume for the first 15 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 5,458,936 carloads, up 7% from last year, and 3,798,266 trailers and containers, up 9.7%.