U.S. railroads' year-long traffic pattern held true in mid-November. In the week ending Nov. 17, they originated 288,717 carloads, down 4.3 percent, and 249,115 containers and trailers, up 2.4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.
While eight of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, metallic ore loads tumbled 15.8 percent, grain traffic declined 13.4 percent and nonmetallic mineral carloads dropped 12.4 percent. Agricultural product traffic decreased 4 percent and the sector's outlook remained muted despite a slightly better U.S. corn production forecast, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly "Rail Flash" report.
"The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates of the USDA recently modestly increased the U.S. corn production forecast for 2012-13 as a result of increased yields," they said. "That said, production is still expected to contract year over year. UP, NS and CSX all recently noted a muted ag outlook for the fourth quarter and first half of 2013."
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 78,572 carloads for the week ending Nov. 17, up 2.8 percent year over year. Their intermodal volume rose 9.2 percent to 53,667 units. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads increased 5.9 percent to 15,477 units and intermodal volume climbed 18.9 percent to 11,351 units
Through 2012's first 46 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 17,255,044 carloads, down 1.9 percent, and 13,789,516 containers and trailers, up 4.5 percent versus last year.
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