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AAR: May more than OK to U.S., Canadian roads' traffic ledgers

The traffic renaissance continues for U.S. railroads. Last month, the roads increased carloads 5.8 percent (75,743 units) and intermodal loads 13.6 percent (102,522 units) compared with May 2003 figures, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Monthly grain, primary metal product, chemical and coal moves increased 21.1 percent, 15.7 percent, 13.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively. U.S. roads moved more loads in 14 of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by AAR.

Year-to-date traffic figures are promising, as well. During 2004's first five months, the roads moved 7,034,627 carloads, up 3.8 percent, and 4,271,079 trailers and containers, up 9 percent compared with similar 2003 data. Through 21 weeks, estimated total volume of 634.3 billion ton-miles rose 5.2 percent.

Canadian roads registered May traffic gains, too: Carloads and intermodal loads increased 13 percent (32,082 units) and 2.7 percent (4,559 units), respectively, compared with May 2003 figures.

Through five months, Canadian roads moved 1,421,735 carloads, up 8.3 percent, and 864,782 trailers and containers, up 0.3 percent compared with similar 2003 data.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis though 21 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 8,456,362 carloads, up 4.5 percent, and 5,135,861 trailers and containers, up 7.4 percent compared with last year.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V. was able to ease its year-long traffic spiral on at least one count last month by increasing carloads 3 percent (1,054 units). However, intermodal originations dropped 40.4 percent (6,289 units) compared with May 2003 figures.

During 2004's first five months, TFM's carloads and intermodal loads decreased 3.2 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively, compared with similar 2003 data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/4/2004