Weekly Rail Traffic Is Flat, AAR Reports

U.S. railroads originated 284,716 carloads for the week ending June 26, 2010, up 11.4% compared with the same week in 2009, but down 13.2% from 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on July 1. Intermodal traffic totaled 227,229 trailers and containers, up 20.5% from a year ago and down only 1.1% compared with 2008. Traffic levels were essentially flat in comparison with the week ending June 19, when the railroads originated 284,913 carloads and saw intermodal volume of 227,985 trailers and containers.

Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 22.1% and trailer volume rose 12.3%. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume increased 7.7% and trailer volume dropped 32.2%.

Seventeen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009. Metallic ores saw a triple-digit increase, up 172.2%; other commodities posting large gains were metals and metal products, up 75.4%; and motor vehicles and equipment, up 55.2%. Only grain mill products and primary forest products saw decreases, down 7.3% and 9.9%, respectively. The AAR said four commodity groups, including farm products, metallic ores, and nonmetallic minerals, posted an increase over 2008 levels.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 14.5% from last year, but down 15.9% from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 9.2% from last year but down 11.1% from two years ago.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 70,849 cars for the week, up 18.1% from last year, and 46,911 trailers or containers, up 22.4% from 2009. For the first 25 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,811,599 carloads, up 21.4% from last year, and 1,140,445 trailers or containers, up 13.5% from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 15,428 cars, up 20.2% from the same week last year, and 7,249 trailers or containers, up 61.7%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 25 weeks of 2010 was reported as 344,473 carloads, up 22.3% from last year; and 163,167 trailers or containers, up 37.1%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 25 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 9,208,258 carloads, up 10.4% from last year, and 6,507,218 trailers and containers, up 12.9% from last year.

For further details, consult the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts.