Both carload and intermodal freight weakened in March but the month ended with a stellar week for coal and grain, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.
Railroads originated 1.3 million carloads of freight in March, down 0.1 percent from the same month the previous year. Intermodal traffic totaled 856,404 units, off 5.7 percent.
For the first three months of 2008, AAR estimated total volume at 431.5 billion ton-miles, up 2.3 percent from 2007.
The week ending March 29 saw major increases in coal, 25 percent, and grain, 22.5 percent.
Four other commodities increased, but the 13 decliners were led by motor vehicles, off 33.3 percent; coke, 30.4 percent, and lumber and wood, 20.5 percent.
Intermodal traffic in week 13 fell 2.7 percent to 222,727 units. Containers decreased 1.3 percent; trailers were down by 7.6 percent.
Total volume for the week was up a strong 7.5 percent to 34.4 billion ton-miles, according to AAR's estimate.
-- Traffic World