The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Feb. 4 reported that freight traffic continues to show some improvement compared with 2009, though down sharply compared with the same week in 2008. For the week ending Jan. 30, 2010, U.S. railroads originated 278,438 carloads, up 7.0 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 12.7 percent from 2008.
Intermodal traffic totaled 203,952 trailers and containers, up 7.5 percent from a year ago, but down 9.7 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 11.2 percent and trailer volume fell 9.3 percent. Container volume was down just 2.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008, but trailer volume dropped 36.5 percent.
In the Western U.S., carloads were down 2.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9.0 percent compared with 2008. In the Eastern U.S., carloads were up 1.7 percent compared with 2009, and down 17.8 percent compared with the same week in 2008.
Thirteen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week in 2009, with nonmetallic minerals up considerably at 105.4 percent. Other notable increases were registered in the motor vehicles and equipment category, up 45.7 percent, as well as the grain category, up 41.9 percent. Year-over-year weekly commodity declines from 2009 were generally slight, from -1.9 percent for coal to -5.7 percent for stone, clay, and glass products, but the "all other carloads" category was down 10.7 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Jan. 30, 2010 was estimated at 30.3 billion ton-miles, up 7.8 percent from the same week last year and down 9.8 percent from 2008.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 69,023 cars for the week, down 8.0 percent from last year, and 42,940 trailers or containers, up 1.5 percent from 2009. For the first 4 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 283,104 carloads, up 16.2 percent from last year, and 174,536 trailers or containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,503 cars, up 20.8 percent from the same week last year, and 6,505 trailers or containers, up 54.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 4 weeks of 2010 was reported as 53,703 carloads, up 25.7 percent from last year; and 26,125 trailers or containers, up 45.2 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 4 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,393,491 carloads, up 3.2 percent from last year, and 1,003,936 trailers and containers, up 3.5 percent from last year.
For further details, consult the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts.