U.S. carloads fell by 3 percent, year over year, to 277,933 units, and intermodal volume rose by 2.8 percent to 253,424 units for the week ending July 20, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Total traffic fell by 0.3 percent when compared to the same week in 2012.
So far this year, total rail traffic has increased by 0.7 percent compared to 2012 on the strength of a 3.4-percent rise in intermodal volumes. Carload volumes, for the year, are down by 1.5 percent compared to 2012. Intermodal units are averaging 240,609 units each week so far this year, and the carload average for each week is 276,563 carloads.
Domestically, the transportation of petroleum and associated products showed a 28-percent increase last week, the best performance by any cargo category. Nonmetallic minerals rose by 7.6 percent, forest products were up by 1.6 percent, and chemicals ticked up by 0.1 percent. Grain took the largest hit, falling by 9.1 percent, and coal was down by 8.2 percent.
Canadian railroads saw a 3.2-percent decline in carloads during the week, but intermodal activity rose by 5.5 percent. In Mexico, carloads increased by 5.3 percent, and intermodal units rose by 5 percent. Grain and chemicals experienced gains of more than 8 percent in Canada. Grain shot up by 58.3 percent, year over year, in Mexico, and farm and food products increased by 13.2 percent. - Jon Ross