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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. roads' traffic totals way down in December's first week, AAR says


Talk about a tough start to December. During the month’s first week ending Dec. 6, U.S. railroads originated 216,364 carloads, down 9.8 percent, and 301,120 intermodal loads, down 8.5 percent compared with totals from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Only two of 19 commodity groups — coal and “other” carloads — registered year-over-year gains.

Through 2008’s first 49 weeks, U.S. roads originated 15.8 million carloads, down 1.5 percent, and 11 million intermodal loads, down 3.6 percent vs. totals from the same 2007 period. Total volume fell 0.4 percent to an estimated 1.65 trillion ton-miles.

Canadian railroads fared slightly better. During the week ending Dec. 6, their carloads declined 5.6 percent to 67,508 units, but intermodal volume rose 2.9 percent to 45,856 units on a year-over-year basis. Through 49 weeks, Canadian roads registered 3.6 million carloads, down 5.4 percent, and 2.4 million containers and trailers, up 2.5 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 49 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 19.4 million carloads, down 2.3 percent, and 13.4 million intermodal loads, down 2.6 percent year over year.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. reported a 20.2 percent drop in total weekly carload volume at 9,342 units and a 16.4 percent decline in total intermodal volume at 4,699 units vs. totals from 2007’s 49th week. Through 49 weeks, the railroad’s carloads totaled 497,216 units, down 7.3 percent, and intermodal volume totaled 248,808 units, up 7.5 percent.

Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V.’s weekly carloads dropped 43.7 percent to 12,831 units and year-to-date carloads decreased 2.2 percent to 610,772 units vs. the same 2007 periods. The railroads’ weekly intermodal volume declined 30.7 percent to 2,437 units and year-to-date volume fell slightly (by 0.1 percent) to 141,005 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/12/2008