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11/5/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American roads register October traffic gains, AAR says



U.S. railroads are batting 10 for 10 so far in 2004. The roads increased traffic again in October, just as they have every other month this year. U.S. roads moved 1,406,933 carloads, up 1.9 percent, and 929,197 trailers and containers, up 10.8 percent compared with October 2003, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Increasing shipments of metallic ores (17.1 percent), crushed stone and gravel (7.4 percent), and coal (1.5 percent) paced the carload gains. Of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by AAR, 13 posted increases.

"Last week, the government announced that Gross Domestic Product growth was 3.7 percent in the third quarter, marking the 12th-straight quarter of positive economic growth and the sixth-straight quarter in which growth has been at least 3.3 percent," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "This month’s rail traffic figures support the contention that the economy remains in solid growth mode."

During 2004's first ten months, U.S. roads moved 14,491,501 carloads, up 2.9 percent, and 9,074,137 trailers and containers, up 9.6 percent compared with the same 2003 period. Total estimated volume of 1.31 trillion ton-miles rose 3.9 percent.

Canadian railroads registered a strong traffic month in October, too. The roads increased carloads 3.1 percent to 282,335 units and intermodal loads, 1.7 percent to 178,789 units compared with October 2003.

Through ten months, Canadian roads totaled 2,886,900 carloads, up 7.6 percent, and 1,805,875 trailers and containers, up 0.3 percent compared with the same 2003 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through October, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads increased carloads and intermodal loads 3.7 percent to 17,378,401 units and 8 percent to 10,880,012 units, respectively, compared with 2003's first 10 months.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V. also posted encouraging traffic figures in October, totaling 37,532 carloads (up 11.8 percent) and 17,850 intermodal loads (up 30.8 percent). During 2004's first 10 months, TFM moved 374,470 carloads, up 3.2 percent, and 161,361 trailers and containers, up 7 percent compared with the same 2003 period.


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