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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR: U.S. and Canadian railroads continue to report traffic downturn in November


Halfway through, November has been a slow traffic period for U.S. railroads. During the week ending Nov. 15, they originated 309,099 carloads, down 9.1 percent, and 225,375 intermodal loads, down 7.9 percent compared with totals from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Through 2008’s first 46 weeks, U.S. roads’ carloads decreased 0.9 percent to 15 million units and intermodal volume fell 3.2 percent to 10.4 million units vs. totals from the same 2007 period. Volume totaled an estimated 1.56 trillion ton-miles, up 0.2 percent year over year.

Canadian railroads are slogging through November, too. During the week ending Nov. 15, their carloads plummeted 13.6 percent to 68,430 units and intermodal volume tumbled 9 percent to 46,574 units compared with totals from the same week last year. Through 46 weeks, Canadian railroads’ carloads decreased 5.1 percent to 3.4 million units, but container and trailer moves rose 3 percent to 2.2 million units.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 46 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 18.3 million units, down 1.7 percent, and 12.6 million containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period.

Meanwhile, Mexico's two largest railroads reported mixed results for 2008’s 46th week. Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s (KCSM) total carloads declined 15.9 percent to 9,778 units and intermodal volume dropped 5.6 percent to 5,444 trailers units, while Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V.’s (Ferromex) carloads skyrocketed 122.2 percent to 22,379 units and intermodal volume jumped 18.5 percent to 2,991 units vs. totals from the same week last year.

Through 46 weeks, KCSM’s total carloads fell 6.5 percent to 469,970 units, but intermodal volume increased 8.8 percent to 233,987 units; Ferromex’s carloads increased 2.9 percent to 573,938 units, but intermodal volume slipped 0.2 percent to 133,479 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/21/2008