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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR: U.S. and Canadian roads' slow start reaches five weeks


Severe winter storms and sluggish lumber and automotive demand were too much for U.S. railroads to overcome last month. As a result, the roads’ January carloads decreased 6.8 percent to 1.6 million units compared with January 2005’s carloads, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

In the intermodal sector, the railroads couldn’t overcome a 12.7 percent drop in trailer traffic. So, total intermodal loads declined 1.6 percent to 1.1 million units compared with January 2005 data. And total estimated volume of 157.6 billion ton-miles fell 5.6 percent.

“January rail traffic was lower than we would have liked to see,” said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. “[But] railroads are hopeful that solid economic growth continues.”

Canadian railroads didn’t fare any better in January. Carloads totaling 369,059 units decreased 3.9 percent and intermodal loads totaling 207,948 units declined 0.5 percent compared with January 2005 data.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 2007’s first five weeks, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 1.9 million carloads, down 6.2 percent, and 1.3 million intermodal loads, down 1.5 percent compared with traffic during 2006’s first five weeks.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s total January carloads decreased 12.8 percent to 49,319 units, but total intermodal units carried increased 9.3 percent to 19,492 units compared with January 2005 traffic.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/9/2007