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9/3/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR August traffic data trifecta: U.S. and Canadian roads, TFM register growth in carload, intermodal sectors



Last month, U.S. and Canadian railroads, and Mexican road TFM S.A. de C.V. accomplished something that all three hadn't done in any one month this year — increase both carloads and intermodal loads.

In August, U.S. roads moved 1,364,950 carloads, up 1.5 percent, and 876,056 trailers and containers, up 10.8 percent compared with August 2003 data, according to Association of American Railroads data. Carloads of metals and metal products, chemicals and coal rose 11.8 percent, 5.5 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, while carloads of grain fell 7 percent.

"Four of the top 13 highest volume intermodal weeks ever, including the highest week ever, occurred in August," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "Because of increasing power generation needs and improving exports, coal traffic is up, and chemical traffic is rising thanks to our expanding industrial economy."

During the year's first eight months, U.S. roads moved 11,388,043 carloads and 7,048,452 intermodal loads, a 3.3 percent and 9.5 percent increase, respectively, compared with similar 2003 data.

Canadian roads' August traffic figures include a 9.9 percent increase in carloads to 262,317 units and 0.9 percent rise in intermodal loads to 168,469 units compared with August 2003 data. During 2004's first eight months, the roads moved 2,269,081 carloads, up 8.8 percent, and 1,411,193 trailers and containers, down 0.1 percent.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 34 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 13,657,124 carloads and 8,459,645 intermodal loads, a 4.2 percent and 7.8 percent increase, respectively, compared with last year.

Meanwhile, TFM remains in the midst of a traffic renaissance. In August, the road increased carloads 11.6 percent to 35,682 units and intermodal loads 24.5 percent to 16,265 units compared with August 2003. Through 34 weeks, TFM moved 290,895 carloads, up 0.5 percent, and 123,255 trailers and containers, up 2.2 percent compared with similar 2003 data.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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