Friday, January 22, 2010

U.S. rail traffic still lags, but Canada, Mexico post gains

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The Association of American Railroads says U.S. rail freight traffic remains down in comparison with last year, though Canadianand Mexican railroads are reporting strong gains.

For the week ending Jan. 16, U.S. rail carriers originated 264,030 carloads of traffic, down 0.8% from the same week in 2009 and down 18.5% from the comparable week in 2008.

U.S. intermodal traffic added up to 201,728 trailers andcontainers, up 1.3% from a year ago, but down 12.6% from 2008.

Twelve of the 19 carload commodity groups were up from the same week last year, with eight posting double-digit gains. Increases ranged from 0.3% for coke to 83.2% for motor vehicles and equipment. Declines ranged from 14.5% for coal to 1.3% for the category "all other carloads."

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Jan. 16 was estimated at 28.7 billion ton-miles, comparable with the same week last year and down 15.6% from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported 73,394 carloads for the latest week, up 24.1% from last year, and 44,268 trailers or containers, up 5.7%. Mexican railroads originated 13,210 carloads, up 21% from the same week last year, and 6,938 trailers or containers, up 41.7%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first two weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 666,886 carloads, down 0.8% from last year, and 498,477 trailers and containers, up 0.3%.