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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR report: U.S. railroads notch more carloads in December's first week


U.S. railroads carried the traffic momentum they built last month into December's first week. During the period ending Dec. 8, the roads originated 328,432 carloads, up 1.5 percent compared with traffic from the same 2006 period, according to Association of American Railroads data.

However, intermodal volume remained down. The railroads originated 239,742 containers and trailers, a 0.7 percent decrease year over year.

One positive sign that surfaced last month appears to be carrying over into December.

"Retail sales, excluding autos, rose 1.8 percent in November, 120 basis points better than Street expectations," said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm's weekly rail traffic report. "Excluding gas, retail sales were up 1.1 percent, which suggests the economy may be holding up a bit better than expectations."

Through 2007's first 49 weeks, U.S. railroads originated 16 million carloads, down 2.4 percent, and 11.4 million containers and trailers, down 2.0 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period. Estimated volume totaled 1.66 trillion ton-miles, representing a 0.9 percent year-over-year decline.

Canadian railroads continued their carloads up/intermodal down trend of late. During the week ending Dec. 8, they boosted carloads 1.1 percent to 71,673 units but saw intermodal volume drop 4.1 percent to 44,654 units compared with totals from the same 2006 period. Through 49 weeks, Canadian railroads originated 3.9 million carloads, up 0.4 percent, and 2.3 million containers and trailers, up 3.4 percent year over year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 49 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 19.9 million carloads, down 1.8 percent, and 13.7 million intermodal loads, down 1.2 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/14/2007