The commodity groups that posted the largest declines were "other" traffic, 47.1 percent; coal and coke, 31.9 percent; farm and food products, 23.7 percent; and minerals and stone, 13.1 percent.
"Coal and coke traffic decreased 5,793 carloads primarily due to reduced shipments in [the] Illinois, Mountain West and Ohio regions. The decrease in coal shipments was largely due to timing of shipments in the Illinois Region and a planned maintenance outage at a coal utility in the Ohio Region," GWI officials said in a prepared statement. "Farm and food products traffic decreased 2,593 carloads primarily due to reduced shipments in the Australia Region as a result of an accelerated shipping schedule earlier in 2012, as well as a mechanical failure at an export grain terminal in Adelaide, South Australia."
In the fourth quarter, GWI railroads handled 229,818 carloads, down 6.9 percent year over year. Same-railroad carloads dipped 8.7 percent.
The decrease principally was due to declines in coal and coke traffic in the Illinois and Ohio regions, farm & food products traffic in the Australia Region, overhead coal moves in the Ohio Region and salt shipments in the New York/Pennsylvania Region, GWI officials said.
Meanwhile, RailAmerica Inc. — which GWI acquired late last year — reported 67,562 carloads for December, down 4.7 percent, and 214,272 carloads for the fourth quarter, up 1.1 percent. Same-railroad carloads dropped 7 percent in December and 1.1 percent in the quarter.
In December, six of 12 commodity groups posted gains, including petroleum, forest products and chemicals. Motor vehicles, coal, food or kindred products and metallic ores/metals registered the largest declines.
GWI plans to report consolidated traffic volumes, including carloads from RailAmerica railroads, beginning with the January 2013 traffic report.
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