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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S., Canadian railroads report traffic declines for second-straight week


Two weeks does not a trend make. But U.S. railroads likely are antsy about traffic volumes midway through January.

During the week ending Jan. 13, the roads’ originated carloads totaled 319,852 units, down 5.9 percent, and intermodal loads totaled 237,636 units, down 0.7 percent compared with similar 2006 data, according to the Association of American Railroads.

U.S. railroads now have posted traffic declines two straight weeks. During that period, the roads’ originated carloads decreased 6.5 percent to 606,604 units and intermodal volume fell 1.2 percent to 426,221 units compared with data from 2006’s first two weeks. Total estimated volume of 61.5 billion ton-miles dropped 5.2 percent.

“Continued pressure in autos, lumber and forest products weighs on volumes,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report. “Meanwhile, bulk volumes started the year on a weak note, falling 2.4 percent so far.”

Canadian railroads aren’t off to a good start either. During the week ending Jan. 13, their total carloads plummeted 14.5 percent to 69,246 units and intermodal volume decreased 6.4 percent to 43,102 units compared with last year’s data.

Through two weeks, Canadian railroads moved 138,999 carloads, down 8 percent, and 75,566 trailers and containers, down 6.8 percent compared with the same 2006 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through two weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 745,603 carloads, down 6.8 percent, and 501,787 trailers and containers, down 2.1 percent compared with similar 2006 traffic levels.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s weekly traffic data shows total carloads decreased 14.2 percent to 10,191 units but intermodal volume increased 3.9 percent to 3,951 units compared with 2006’s second week. Through two weeks, the railroad reported a total of 18,209 cars, down 19.7 percent, and 6,236 trailers and containers, up 1.7 percent compared with similar 2006 data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/19/2007