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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. carloads jump in June, intermodal simply surges, AAR says


While U.S. railroads can take comfort in last month's intermodal surge, they're no doubt also relieved about June's carload increase — the first in many months.

June intermodal traffic rose 8.6 percent (60,211 trailers and containers) and carload traffic, 2.1 percent (28,575 carloads), compared with June 2001, according to Association of American Railroads data released July 3.

For the second quarter, U.S. freight traffic dropped 0.8 percent (36,016 carloads), while intermodal traffic increased 8.5 percent (188,081 trailers and containers) compared with a similar 2001 period.

"The second quarter of 2002 was an absolutely extraordinary period for intermodal traffic," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "Moreover, U.S. rail carloadings excluding coal were up 2 percent in the second quarter compared with a 3.3 percent decline in the first quarter."

U.S. roads still have some carload catching-up to do: During 2002's first 26 weeks, they hauled 8,467,797 carloads, down 2.3 percent, and 4,558,672 trailers and containers, up 4.1 percent. AAR estimated total volume at 725.3 billion ton-miles, declining 1.3 percent compared with last year.

Railroads north of the U.S. border recorded a 2.5 percent (5,983 units) carload decline in June, 0.6 percent (4,750 units) drop in the second quarter, and 3 percent (48,801 units) dip through 2002's first six months.

However, Canadian roads' intermodal traffic rose 13.4 percent (19,162 units) in June, 11.8 percent (54,035 units) in the second quarter and 7 percent (63,054 units) during 2002's first six months.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis, 16 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads for 2002's first 26 weeks totaled 10,044,294 carloads, dropping 2.4 percent (249,827 carloads), and 5,523,554 trailers and containers, rising 4.6 percent (242,990 units) compared with last year.

Meanwhile, Mexico's TFM S.A. de C.V. in June increased carloads 12.3 percent (3,823 units), during the second quarter, 8.8 percent (8,049 carloads) and over six months, 1.6 percent (2,873 carloads).

The railroad's intermodal originations rose, too: 6.8 percent (812 units) in June, 32.6 percent (10,203 units) in the second quarter and 15 percent (9,031 units) from January to June.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/8/2002