Friday, August 28, 2009

U.S. rail traffic: Still down, still improving

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The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. rail traffic "continues to show slight improvement with rail carloadings at their highest level since early March."

Carload traffic for the week ended Aug. 22 totaled 279,478 originated cars, down 16.1% from the corresponding week in 2008. Loadings were down 14.22% in the West and 18.9% inthe East.

U.S. intermodal volume totaled 193,207 trailers or containers , down 16.2% from last year. Container volume was off 10.2% and trailer volume was down 38.2%. Total volume for the week ending Aug. 22 was estimated at 29.8 billion ton-miles, down 15.6%.

All 19 freight commodity groups were down except the nonmetallic mineral category, which eked out a 1.3% increase. Declines ranged from 5.7% for petroleum products to 49.3% for metallic ores.

Canadian railroads reported 64,267 originated carloads for the latest week, down 15.3%, and 41,971 trailers or containers, down 19.2% from 2008.

Mexican railroad reported originated volume of 11,461 carloads, down 1.4% from last year, and 6,279 trailers or containers, off 3.1%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of  2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 11,063,767 carloads, down 19.6% from last year, and 7,642,421 trailers and containers, down 17.1%.

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