Intermodal record powers U.S. rail freight

Intermodal record powers U.S. rail freight

U.S. railroads rebounded from a weak year in 2002 as carloads increased 1.6 percent during December, 1.1 percent during the fourth quarter and 0.1 percent for all of 2003, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Intermodal traffic reached a record 9.94 million trailers and containers in 2003, on increases of 8.5 percent in December, 12 percent in the fourth quarter and 6.8 percent in 2003 compared with the same 2002 periods.

Carloads for Canadian railroads increased 14.9 percent in December, 9.8 percent during the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent for the year. Intermodal traffic weakened after a strong start, decreasing 4 percent in December and 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Canadian roads ended the year with a 5.3 percent increase in trailer and container moves compared with 2002.

In total, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads in 2003 moved 20.2 million carloads, up 0.3 percent, and 12.1 million trailers and containers, up 6.5 percent compared with 2002.

Mexican carrier TFM saw December carloads and intermodal originations dropped 5.6 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, compared with December 2002. Full-year carloads also declined by 2.8 percent, but intermodal traffic rose 10.9 percent compared with the previous year.