Two major snow storms caused a sharp drop in freight traffic on U.S. railroads during the week ended February 13, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported. For the week ending Feb. 13, 2010, U.S. railroads originated 257,823 carloads, down 8.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, and down 19.2 percent from 2008.
Intermodal traffic totaled 192,354 trailers and containers, up 0.5 percent from a year ago, but down 12.5 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 3.2 percent and trailer volume fell 12 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume decreased 5.5 percent and trailer volume dropped 37.8 percent.
In the Western U.S., carloads were down 3.0 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12 percent compared with 2008. In the Eastern U.S., carloads were down 16.1 percent compared with 2009, and 29.6 percent compared with the same week in 2008.
Ten of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week last year, led by a 24.9 percent increase in loadings of metals and products. Other commodities registering double digit gains were motor vehicles and equipment, up 15.0 percent, and primary forest products, up 13.8 percent. Commodities showing sharp declines included coal, down 16.3 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 18.9 percent; and pulp, paper and allied products, down 13.2 percent.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Feb. 13, 2010 was estimated at 28.1 billion ton-miles, down 7 percent from the same week last year and down 16.4 percent from 2008.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 69,954 cars for the week, up 4.8 percent from last year, and 42,560 trailers or containers, down 1.6 percent from 2009. For the first 6 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 422,617 carloads, up 13 percent from last year, and 260,784 trailers or containers, up 2.6 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 14,370 cars, up 28.1 percent from the same week last year, and 6,602 trailers or containers, up 17.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 6 weeks of 2010 was reported as 79,162 carloads, up 23.9 percent from last year; and 37,879 trailers or containers, up 35.6 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 6 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 2,084,180 carloads, up 1.8 percent from last year, and 1,495,480 trailers and containers, up 3.2 percent from last year.
For further details, consult the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts.