Freight traffic on U.S. railroads registered small gains in comparison with 2009 levels during the week ended February 6 but continued to trail levels reported in 2008, the Association of American Railroads reported on Feb. 11. For the week ending Feb. 6, 2010, U.S. railroads originated 268,033 carloads, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but still down 14.7 percent from 2008.
Intermodal traffic totaled 201,188 trailers and containers, up 5.1 percent from a year ago, but down 10.7 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 8.3 percent and trailer volume fell 10.1 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume decreased 3.5 percent and trailer volume dropped 36.8 percent.
In the Western U.S., carloads were up 2.0 percent compared with the same week last year, but down 10.4 percent compared with 2008. In the Eastern U.S., carloads were up 0.2 percent compared with 2009, and down 20.7 percent compared with the same week in 2008.
Loadings of metals and products climbed 50.8 percent, and substantial increases were also reported in loadings of nonmetallic minerals (40.1 percent), farm products other than grain (32 percent), coke (25.7 percent), and motor vehicles and equipment (19.9 percent). In all, 14 of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week last year. On the negative side, crushed stone, sand and gravel fell 12.7 percent, and pulp, paper and allied products dipped 10.3 percent.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Feb. 6, 2010 was estimated at 29.2 billion ton-miles, up 2.5 percent from the same week last year and down 11.8 percent from 2008.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 69,559 cars for the week, up 9.3 percent from last year, and 43,688 trailers or containers, up 2.4 percent from 2009. For the first 5 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 352,663 carloads, up 14.8 percent from last year, and 218,224 trailers or containers, up 3.4 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 11,089 cars, up 11.4 percent from the same week last year, and 5,152 trailers or containers, up 19.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 5 weeks of 2010 was reported as 64,792 carloads, up 23 percent from last year; and 31,277 trailers or containers, up 40.2 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 5 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,742,172 carloads, up 3.2 percent from last year, and 1,253,964 trailers and containers, up 3.8 percent from last year.
For further details, consult the AAR’s weekly rail traffic charts.