Carloadings Retreat from Previous Week's Levels

Freight rail traffic declined to 275,439 carloads for the week ended Oct. 31, 2009, from 276,357 carloads in the week ended Oct. 24, the Association of American Railroads reported on Nov. 5. Traffic was down 13.7 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and 18.2 percent from 2007.

Intermodal traffic totaled 203,860 trailers and containers, down 15.5 percent from a year ago and off 3,541 units from the previous week's level of 207,401. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume fell 5.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 32.3 percent.

Just four commodity groups saw increases over 2008's levels: grain mill products (9.9 percent) - for yet another week, chemicals (3.6 percent), and waste and scrap metal (0.7 percent) and nonmetallic minerals (0.3 percent). Declines ranged from 2.2 percent for the all other carloads category to 55.6 percent for metallic ores.

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Oct. 31, 2009 was estimated at 31 billion ton-miles, down 12.7 percent compared with the same week last year and 13.2 percent from 2007.

For the first 43 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,482,619 carloads, down 17.9 percent from 2008 and 18.3 percent from 2007.

See the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts for more details.