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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR: U.S. railroads continue to register fewer carloads, intermodal loads


Another week, same result for U.S. railroads. During the period ending Aug. 18, carload and intermodal traffic trailed volume from 2006’s 33rd week.

Originated carloads decreased 1.5 percent to 338,364 units and intermodal loads declined 4.3 percent to 238,270 units, according to the Association of American Railroads.

“Soft freight demand, a weak housing market and uneven economic growth are the primary causes of current volume softness,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report. “Yet, significant rail rate increases over the last several quarters may also be pricing-off some traffic at the margins.”

Through 33 weeks, U.S. railroads originated 10.7 million carloads, down 3.7 percent, and 7.6 million trailers and containers, down 1.7 percent compared with the same 2006 period. Estimated volume dropped 2.4 percent to 1.09 trillion ton-miles.

In Canada, railroads’ weekly carloads dropped 1.9 percent to 78,298 units, but intermodal volume increased 6 percent to 50,197 units compared with totals from 2006’s 33rd week. Through the 33-week period, Canadian railroads originated 2.6 million carloads, down 0.7 percent, and 1.5 million trailers and containers, up 2.6 percent year over year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 33 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 13.2 million carloads, down 3.1 percent, and 9 million trailers and containers, down 1.0 percent compared with totals through 2006’s first 33 weeks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/24/2007