North American Rail Traffic Up

North American Rail Traffic Up

North American carload and intermodal traffic were up year-over-year in the week ending May 4, according to the Association of American Railroads.

North American rail volumes through May 4, 2013North American rail volumes through May 4, 2013

Combined North American carload volume, including all three North American Free Trade Agreement partners, climbed 2 percent from the same week in 2012 to 378,115 carloads and was also up 1.4 percent week-to-week. The total North American carload volume for 2013 year-to-date is 0.8 percent less than the same period in 2012, at 6,647,821 carloads.

North American intermodal volume edged down 0.7 percent week-to-week but rose 2.1 percent from the same week in 2012 to 308,616 trailers and containers. Total intermodal volume for the first 18 weeks of 2013, 5,386,789 units, was 4.1 percent higher than the level seen in the same period in 2012.

U.S. rail traffic reflected the trends in the overall North American numbers for the week. U.S. carload volume was up year-over-year by 2.8 percent to 283,916 carloads, ending three weeks of declines. It was also up 3 percent from the week before. U.S. intermodal volume rose 2.8 percent year-over-year but slipped 0.8 percent from the week prior to 245,678 trailers and containers.

Canadian carload volume dropped 2.1 percent week-to-week and 1.4 percent year-over-year to 79,903 carloads. This was the first year-over-year decline in this lane since February 2. Canadian intermodal volume was up 1 percent year-over-year and 1.6 percent week-to-week at 55,100 trailers and containers.

Mexican carload traffic rose roughly 5 percent from the same week in 2012 to 14,296 carloads, although this was down 8 percent week-to-week. Intermodal volume dropped approximately 10 percent, in the third straight week of year-over-year declines. It fell steeply to 7,838 units, down 12.3 percent from the week before. 

“Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 52.4 percent. Commodities showing a decrease included grain, down 5.9 percent,” AAR noted in this week’s release.