Rail and Trucking Freight Traffic Continue to Boom
1. The Association of American Railroads reported last week that the growth in rail freight traffic continued during the week ended May 1, as all 19 carload freight commodities and both intermodal categories were up from a year ago for the second consecutive week. U.S. railroads originated 295,718 carloads during the week ended May 1, up 16.3 percent from the comparable week in 2009.
Intermodal traffic was up 13.2 percent from last year but down 5.4 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 15.2 percent while trailer volume gained 3.2 percent. Total volume was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 6,229,078 carloads, up 8.2 percent from last year, and 4,328,397 trailers and containers, up 10.2 percent from last year.
2. The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted (SA) Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in March, following a revised 0.3% decrease in February. The latest improvement put the SA index at 109.2, the highest level since November 2008.
Compared with March 2009, tonnage jumped 7.5%, which was the 4th consecutive year-over-year gain and the largest increase since January 2005. For the first quarter of 2010, SA tonnage was up 4.9% compared with the same period last year.