Rail Freight Traffic Continues Decline

Freight traffic on U.S. railroads continues to decline, with U.S. carload freight for the week ending February 21 down from the previous week to 278,827 cars. According to the Association of American Railroads, this is a 14.2-percent decline from last year, with loadings down 12.8 percent in the West and 16.0 percent in the East.

Intermodal volume totaled 168,194 containers and trailers, off 25.3 percent from last year, with container volume falling 23.4 percent and trailer volume dropping 32.3 percent. Of the 19 carload commodity groups, 18 were off last week compared with 2008, with the miscellaneous category of "all other carloads" up 42.2 percent.

For the first seven weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported carloads were down 15.9 percent and trailers or containers were down 15.0 percent from 2008, for a 14.7-percent decline in total volume.  For the same period, the combined North American rail volume for 14 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 2,406,137 carloads, a 16.2-percent decline from last year, and 1,666,420 trailers and containers, a 14.3-percent decline from last year.