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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American roads' monthly freight-traffic trend continues: intermodal up, carloads down

While U.S. railroads' carload decline continued last month, falling 1.8 percent compared with May 2001, intermodal traffic rose a robust 9.4 percent, according to Association of American Railroads data released June 6.
"Intermodal volumes represent the strongest year-over-year gain in almost five years, [and] are an indication of the productive alliances railroads have fostered with truck and maritime interests," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.
For 2002's first five months, U.S. railroads totaled 7,096,701 carloads, dropping 3.1 percent compared with 2001's first five months, mainly because of weak coal business, AAR said. Intermodal traffic during the same period totaled 3,794,941 trailers and containers, rising 3.3 percent.
AAR estimated total volume at 611.1 billion ton-miles, down 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile, May's freight traffic news was much the same for Canadian roads: Carloads dropped 0.2 percent while intermodal traffic rose 11.9 percent.
And for 2002's first five months, Canadian railroads totaled 1,340,021 carloads, dipping 3.1 percent; and 803,066 trailers and containers, rising 5.8 percent.
On a combined cumulative-volume basis, 16 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads totaled 8,436,722 carloads during 2002's first 22 weeks, declining 3.1 percent, and 4,598,009 trailers and containers, increasing 3.7 percent compared with a similar 2001 period.
For Mexican road TFM S.A. de C.V., May and five-month freight-traffic totals mirrored those of its U.S. and Canadian brethren: Monthly carloads dropped 14.5 percent while intermodal originations ballooned 28.9 percent, and January-through-May carloads dipped 0.6 percent while intermodal loads jumped 17.1 percent.

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