The Association of American Railroads reported on Jan. 21 that freight traffic remains down in comparison with 2009 and 2008, although both Canadian and Mexican railroads posted increases. For the week ending Jan. 16, 2010, U.S. railroads originated 264,030 carloads, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week in 2009 and down 18.5 percent from the same week in 2008.
In the Western U.S., carloads were down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year and 13.8 percent compared with 2008. In the East, carloads were down 0.9 percent compared with 2009 and down 25 percent compared with the same week in 2008.
Intermodal traffic totaled 201,728 trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent from a year ago, but down 12.6 percent from 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 3.6 percent and trailer volume fell 9.2 percent.
Most carload freight commodity groups were up - 12 of 19, with eight of those posting double digit increases. The greatest increase was reported for motor vehicles and equipment, which were up 83.2 percent over the same week in 2009. The greatest decline was for coal, off 14.5 percent from last year's figure.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Jan. 16, 2009 was estimated at 28.7 billion ton-miles, comparable with the same week last year and down 15.6 percent from 2007.
So far this year, U.S. railroads' total volume is an estimated 54.2 billion ton-miles, down 6.2 percent from 2009 and 20.8 percent from 2008.
Canadian railroads, however, reported gains, with volume of 73,394 cars for the week, up 24.1 percent from last year, and 44,268 trailers or containers, up 5.7 percent from 2009. For the first 2 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 140,727 carloads, up 22.3 percent from last year, and 87,301 trailers or containers, up 2.9 percent from last year.
Likewise, Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,210 cars, up 21 percent from the same week last year, and 6,938 trailers or containers, up 41.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 2 weeks of 2010 was reported as 25,333 carloads, up 26 percent from last year; and 12,660 trailers or containers, up 42.9 percent.
For further details, consult the AAR's weekly rail traffic charts.