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12/5/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR traffic data: U.S., Canadian roads register gains in November



Although U.S. railroads' November intermodal traffic once again far outpaced a comparable 2002 period, their monthly carload total finally showed some growth as well. Last month, intermodal traffic increased 8.2 percent and carloads, 0.3 percent, compared with November 2002, according to Association of American Railroads data released Dec. 4.

U.S. roads moved more carloads of coke (28.3 percent), crushed stone and gravel (12.8 percent), waste and scrap material (9.4 percent), grain (3.2 percent) and chemicals (up 2.7 percent). Of the 19 commodity categories AAR tracks, 14 showed November increases.

Canadian roads successfully grew both traffic segments in November, too, increasing intermodal loads 0.3 percent and carloads, 9.9 percent, compared with the same 2002 period. Fifteen commodity categories registered gains, including farm products excluding grain (42.1 percent), grain (31 percent) and chemicals (7.2 percent).

"Canadian and U.S. railroads moved nearly 133,000 carloads of grain in November, nearly 12,000 [or 10 percent] more than in November 2002," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.

During 2003's first 11 months, U.S. roads' carloads were almost flat, down 0.04 percent, but intermodal traffic was up 6.7 percent compared with the same 2002 period. Through 48 weeks, AAR estimated total volume at 1.39 trillion ton-miles, a 1.3 percent increase.

During the same timespan, Canadian roads' carloads rose 0.5 percent and intermodal traffic increased 6.1 percent compared with 2002's first 11 months.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 48 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 18,683,618 carloads, up slightly, and 11,208,579 trailers and containers, up 6.6 percent compared with last year.

For TFM S.A. de C.V., November carload originations dropped 7.9 percent and intermodal originations, 8.2 percent, compared with November 2002. Year-to-date carload originations also dropped (2.5 percent) but intermodal traffic grew at a healthy clip (12.4 percent).


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