Rail Freight Volumes Continue Slump

Nearly three months into the year, freight traffic on U.S. railroads continues to show the effects of the economic downturn.

For the week ending March 21, U.S. railroads reported originating 276,030 cars, down 14.7 percent from the same week in 2008. Loadings were down 13 percent in the West and 17 percent in the East, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads.

Intermodal volume of 183,795 trailers or containers was off 12.9 percent from last year, with container volume falling 7.7 percent and trailer volume dropping 30.9 percent.

For the first 11 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads posted total volume of 3,007,032 carloads, down 15 percent from the same 2008 period. Total intermodal units for the same period were 2,055,140 trailers or containers, down 15 percent from the comparable period last year.