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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Carloads, intermodal loads remain way down for North American railroads so far in '09, AAR says


The year’s second full week wasn’t any better traffic-wise for U.S. railroads than the first. During the week ending Jan. 17, their carloads totaled 267,063 units, down 17.9 percent, and intermodal volume totaled 199,117 units, down 13.7 percent compared with totals from 2008’s second full week, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Through two weeks, U.S. roads originated 538,534 carloads, down 17.4 percent, and 403,220 containers and trailers, down 14 percent year over year. Total volume fell 16.5 percent to an estimated 57.1 billion ton-miles.

Canadian railroads didn’t fare any better. During the week ending Jan. 17, their carloads plummeted 21.8 percent to 59,143 units and intermodal volume tumbled 16.5 percent to 41,947 units vs. totals from the same week in 2008. Through two weeks, Canadian roads’ reported a 24.3 percent drop in carloads (to 115,046 units) and 15.1 percent decline in intermodal volume (to 84,933 units).

For the week ending Jan. 20, Mexican railroads reported originated carloads totaling 10,622 units, down 7.9 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 4,881 containers and trailers, down 8.1 percent year over year. Through two weeks, their carloads decreased 14 percent to 19,594 units and intermodal volume dropped 16.1 percent to 8,824 units.

On a combined North American-volume basis through two weeks, 14 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads reported 673,174 carloads, down 18.9 percent, and 496,977 containers and trailers, down 14.3 percent compared with totals from 2008’s first two weeks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/23/2009