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8/8/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

July traffic comparisons: Canadian roads best U.S. brethren, AAR says




U.S. railroads' carload traffic continued a summer swoon in July, falling 1.6 percent (25,637 units) compared with July 2002. However, intermodal traffic rose 4.3 percent (38,624 trailers and containers) — besting a 2.9 percent increase in June, according to Association of American Railroads data released Aug. 7.

Last month, U.S. roads moved more carloads of coke, chemicals, and crushed stone and gravel, but fewer carloads of coal, metallic ores, and motor vehicles and equipment.

"The decline in coal volumes is attributable in part to cooler-than-normal summer weather in much of the eastern half of the country, while the drop in automotive carloadings is a reflection of lower sales and production," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.

During the year's first seven months, U.S. roads moved 9,949,454 carloads, down 0.1 percent (10,991 units), and 5,772,723 trailers or containers, up 6.0 percent (328,653 units) compared with the same 2002 period. AAR estimates total U.S. rail volume at 877.1 billion ton-miles, up 0.6 percent compared with 2002's first 31 weeks.

Canadian roads fared better last month, increasing carload traffic 2.3 percent (6,570 units) primarily because of gains in chemical, and farm product (excluding grain) moves, and intermodal traffic 7.5 percent (14,768 units) compared with July 2002.

During 2003's first seven months, Canadian roads moved 1,896,277 carloads, down 1.1 percent (21,330 units), and 1,279,829 trailers or containers, up 9.2 percent (107,379 units) compared with the same 2002 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 2003's first 31 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 11,845,731 carloads, down 0.3 percent (32,321 units), and 7,052,552 trailers and containers, up 6.6 percent (436,032 units) compared with 2002's first 31 weeks.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V.'s July carloads dropped 0.8 percent but January-through-July carloads rose 1.7 percent compared with similar 2002 periods. The road's intermodal traffic decreased 1.9 percent last month but increased 26.9 percent during the year's first 31 weeks.



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