Friday, February 19, 2010

Wintry blasts in East cool rail traffic

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Fighting major back-to-back snowstorms in the East, U.S. railroads originated 257,823 carloads of traffic in the week ended February 13, down 8.1% from the same week last year, and off 12% compared with 2008, the Association of American Railroads reported Friday.


In the western U.S., carloads were down 3.0% in the latest week. In the East, they were down 16.1%.

"Intermodal traffic barely resisted the downward trend, at least in comparison with last year, totaling 192,354 trailers and containers, up 0.5% from a year ago, but down 12.5% compared with 2008," said the AAR.

Ten of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up compared with last year, led by a 24.9% increase in loadings of metals and products. Others posting double-digit gains were motor vehicles and equipment, up 15.0%, and primary forest products, up 13.8%. Commodities showing share declines included coal, down 16.3%; crushed stone, sand, and gravel, down 18.9%; and pulp, paper, and allied products, down 13.2%.

Canadian railroads handled 69,954 carloads for the week, up 4.8% from last year, and 42,560 trailers or containers, down 1.6% from last year. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 14,370 cars, up 28.1% from the same week last year, and 6,602 trailers or containers, up 17.3%.

Combined volume for the first six weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 2,084,180 carloads ,up 1.8% from last year, and 1,495,480 trailers and containers, up 3.2%.

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