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Rail News: Intermodal

Weekly carloads remain in red for U.S. and Canadian railroads, AAR says


U.S. railroads have been facing weaker traffic demand so far in 2007. And last week, severe spring storms and major floods contributed to declining carloads. During the week ending May 12, the roads originated 320,620 carloads, down 7 percent, and 232,435 trailers and containers, down 3.9 percent compared with the same 2006 period, according to the Association of American Railroads.

“Overall traffic volumes were negatively impacted in part due to a sharp 10.8 percent year-over-year decline in Western coal carloads, which exacerbated the continued (and well documented) weakness in merchandise traffic,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report.

During 2007’s first 19 weeks, U.S. railroads’ carloads totaling 6.1 million units decreased 4.4 percent and intermodal loads totaling 4.3 million units declined 1.1 percent compared with the same 2006 period. Estimated volume totaled 620.7 billion ton-miles, representing a 3.1 percent decrease.

Canadian railroads moved fewer carloads last week, too. Carloads totaling 80,967 units dropped 0.7 percent compared with the same 2006 period. But intermodal volume totaling 48,165 units increased 6.3 percent.

Through 19 weeks, Canadian railroads originated 1.5 million carloads, down 1.7 percent, and 854,624 intermodal loads, up 1.9 percent compared with the same 2006 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 19 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 7.6 million carloads, down 3.9 percent, and 5.2 million trailers and containers, down 0.6 percent compared with 2006’s first 19 weeks.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. last week carried a total of 10,772 carloads, down 9.2 percent. But intermodal volume totaling 4,449 units rose 10.9 percent compared with the same 2006 period. Through 19 weeks, the railroad’s total carloads carried decreased 5.5 percent to 204,186 units and intermodal loads increased 11.2 percent to 79,423 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/18/2007