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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. roads continue to register fewer carloads, AAR says

Twenty weeks into 2007, U.S. railroads still are moving fewer carloads and intermodal traffic than last year. During the week ending May 19, the roads originated 331,751 carloads, down 5 percent, and 236,313 intermodal loads, down 3.1 percent compared with the same 2006 period, according to the Association of American Railroads.

“Bulk carloadings are off a sharp 6.2 percent this week vs. 5.5 percent over the past month, with coal falling 5.2 percent year over year and grain down 14 percent,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report.

Through 20 weeks, U.S. railroads’ originated carloads decreased 4.5 percent to 6.4 million units and intermodal volume dropped 1.2 percent to 4.6 million units compared with 2006’s first 20 weeks. Estimated volume totaled 654.4 billion ton-miles, representing a 3.2 percent decline.

Canadian railroads had an up-and-down week. During the period ending May 19, the roads’ carloads increased 1.3 percent to 81,285 units but intermodal volume decreased 3.1 percent to 45,849 units compared with the same 2006 period. Through 20 weeks, the railroads moved 1.6 million carloads, down 1.6 percent, and 900,473 trailers and containers, up 1.6 percent compared with 2006’s first 20 weeks.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 20 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 8 million carloads, down 3.9 percent, and 5.5 million trailers and containers, down 0.7 percent compared with last year.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. posted traffic gains. During the week ending May 19, the railroad carried a total of 11,779 cars, up 5.8 percent, and reported intermodal volume of 4,714 trailers and containers, up 5 percent compared with the same 2006 period. Through 20 weeks, the road’s carloads carried decreased 4.9 percent to 215,965 units but intermodal volume rose 10.9 percent to 84,137 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/25/2007