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Rail News: Intermodal

Severe storms, UTU strike reduce U.S. and Canadian roads' weekly carloads, AAR says


Hampered by severe winter storms and a slightly weakening economy, U.S. railroads moved fewer carloads for the seventh-straight week. During the week ending Feb. 17, the roads originated 305,008 carloads, down 5 percent compared with similar 2006 data, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Weekly intermodal traffic fell, too. U.S. railroads originated 223,063 trailers and containers, down 2.2 percent compared with intermodal loads moved in 2006’s seventh week.

During 2007’s first seven weeks, the roads originated 2.2 million carloads, down 6.3 percent, and 1.6 million trailers and containers, down 1.3 percent compared with similar 2006 data. Total estimated volume of 220.2 billion ton-miles declined 5.2 percent.

The traffic news isn’t any better in Canada, where the United Transportation Union’s ongoing strike against Canadian National Railway Co. has caused service disruptions. During the week ending Feb. 17, Canadian roads’ originated carloads plummeted 13.5 percent to 67,188 units and intermodal loads dropped 1.4 percent to 42,224 units compared with traffic in 2006’s week No. 7.

Through seven weeks, Canadian railroads originated 510,120 carloads, down 4.8 percent, and 295,370 trailers and containers, up less than 0.1 percent compared with similar 2006 data.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through seven weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 2.7 million carloads, down 6.1 percent, and 1.9 million trailers and containers, down 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the traffic report from Kansas City Southern de México S. de R.L. de C.V. is upbeat. During the week ending Feb. 17, the railroad boosted total carloads 6.2 percent to 11,173 units and increased total intermodal volume 7.8 percent to 4,501 units compared with traffic in 2006’s seventh week. Through seven weeks, the road’s cumulative carload volume of 71,115 units decreased 8.7 percent but cumulative intermodal volume of 28,030 units increased 9.9 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/23/2007