The Association of American Railroads reported that freight rail traffic was down for the holiday week ended Nov. 14, 2009. U.S. railroads reported originating 281,218 carloads for the week, down 8.9 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and down 17 percent from the same week in 2007. Rail carloads showed slight improvement, up 2.3 percent from the previous week.
Intermodal traffic totaled 208,056 trailers and containers, down 7.7 percent from a year ago and 15 percent from 2007. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume fell 1.5 percent and trailer volume dropped 30.2 percent. Compared with the same week in 2007, container volume fell 8.3 percent and trailer volume dropped 38.3 percent. Intermodal traffic was up .6 percent from the previous week.
Although 13 of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down compared with the same week last year, increases were seen in nonmetallic minerals (19 percent), grain (16.1 percent), chemicals (8.5 percent), waste and scrap metal (6.6 percent), food and kindred products (3.6 percent) and grain mill products (1.7 percent). Declines in commodity groups ranged from .1 percent for motor vehicles and equipment to 51.7 percent for metallic ores.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Nov. 14, 2009 was estimated at 31.6 billion ton-miles, down 7.9 percent compared with the same week last year and 11.2 percent from 2007.
For the first 45 weeks of 2009, U.S.railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,038,538 carloads, down 17.6 percent from 2008 and 18.3 percent from 2007; 8,588,586 trailers or containers, down 15.9 percent from 2008 and 18.5 percent from 2007, and total volume of an estimated 1.29 trillion ton-miles, down 16.6 percent from 2008 and 16.9 percent from 2007.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 45 weeks of 2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 15,357,248 carloads, down 17.9 percent from last year, and 10,681,718 trailers and containers, down 15.9 percent from last year.
See the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts for more details.