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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. and Canadian railroads end 2008 with a thud, AAR traffic data shows


During 2008’s last week, which included Christmas, freight traffic remained down for U.S. railroads. For the period ending Dec. 27, their carloads dropped 21.8 percent to 124,061 units and intermodal volume fell 21.7 percent to 200,365 units compared with totals from 2007’s last week, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Through 52 weeks, U.S. roads originated 16.6 million carloads, down 2.2 percent, and 11.5 million containers and trailers or containers, down 4.2 percent year over year. Total volume decreased 1.2 percent to an estimated 1.73 trillion ton-miles.

Canadian railroads had a tough last week, too. Their carloads totaling 39,999 units declined 25.7 percent and intermodal volume totaling 20,621 units plummeted 35.5 percent vs. totals from 2007’s last week. Through 52 weeks, Canadian railroads’ carloads decreased 6.3 percent to 3.8 million units, but intermodal volume rose 1.4 percent to 2.5 million units compared with full-year 2007 data.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 52 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 20.3 million carloads, down 3 percent, and 14 million containers and trailers, down 3.3 percent year over year.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. reported weekly carloads totaling 6,138 units, down 21.7 percent, and weekly intermodal volume totaling 2,616 units, down 5.9 percent. Through 52 weeks, the railroad’s carloads decreased 7.9 percent to 520,364 units, but intermodal volume rose 6.6 percent to 260,399 units compared with 2007 totals.

Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V. reported weekly carloads totaling 7,922 units, down 24 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 1,541 units, down 12.9 percent. Through 52 weeks, the road’s carloads increased 3.1 percent to 641,898 units, but intermodal volume dropped slightly (by 0.2 percent) to 147,070 units vs. 2007 totals.