November Carloads Down 8 Percent at RailAmerica

Short line holding company RailAmerica, Inc.  reported carloads for November 2009 of 67,834, down more than 8 percent from November 2008.

RailAmerica restructured a customer contract in the second quarter of this year that resulted in the company recording the revenue from that contract as non-freight revenue instead of freight revenue and carloads. Excluding the effect of that contract, carloads were down approximately 2 percent for November 2009 compared with the year-earlier month.

RailAmerica had decreased shipments in November 2009 in nine out of 12 commodity groups compared with November 2008. The largest decline was in the "other" commodity group and was primarily due to the restructured contract. Continued softness in residential construction contributed to 2,158 fewer carloads in the non-metallic minerals & products and forest products commodity groups, and reduced demand for metallic ores & metals accounted for 857 fewer cars.

Three commodity segments showed year-over-year growth for November 2009. Agricultural products were up 28 percent primarily due to a delayed harvest in the Midwest. Motor vehicle traffic was up 56 percent because of a new production facility in the Midwest and a general increase in the movement of new automobiles. Waste & scrap material shipments were up 3 percent in the 2009 month compared with November 2008.  

RailAmerica, based in Jacksonville, Fla.,  operates a portfolio of 40 North American railroads with approximately 7,500 miles of track.