Freight traffic on US railroads was off slightly during the week ended August 18 in comparison with the corresponding week last year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported.

Total volume was estimated at 35.3 billion ton-miles, down 0.3% from the same week last year.

Intermodal volume totaled 238,270 trailers or containers, down 4.3% from last year, with container volume off 2.0% from last year and trailer volume down 11.9%.

Carload freight, which doesn’t include the intermodal data, totaled 338,364 cars for the week, down 1.5% from last year. Compared with last year, loadings were up 1.7% in the West, but down 5.5% in the East.

Eight of 19 carload commodity groups were up compared with last year. Loadings of farm products other than grain rose 20.0%, while coke was up 12.6% from last year and petroleum products gained 8.4%. Among commodities reporting declines were primary forest products, off 16.6%; lumber and wood products, down 14.5%; and metals, off 15.3%.

Cumulative volume for the first 33 weeks of 2007 totaled 10,687,926 carloads, down 3.7% from 2006; 7,579,383 trailers or containers, off 1.7%; and total volume of an estimated 1.09 trillion ton-miles, down 2.4% from last year.

On Canadian railroads, during the week ended August 18 carload traffic totaled 78,298 cars, down 1.9% from last year while intermodal volume totaled 50,197 trailers or containers, up 6.0% from last year.

Cumulative originations for the first 33 weeks of 2007 on the Canadian railroads totaled 2,563,974 carloads, down 0.7% from last year, and 1,513,659 trailers and containers, up 2.6% from last year.

Combined cumulative volume for the first 33 weeks of 2007 on US and Canadian railroads totaled 13,251,900 carloads, down 3.1% from last year, and 9,093,042 trailers and containers, down 1.0% from last year.

The AAR also reported that carload freight on the Mexican railroad Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM) during the week ended August 18 totaled 10,470 cars, down 9.8% from last year. KCSM reported intermodal volume of 5,397 trailers or containers, up17.9% from the 33rd week of 2006.

For the first 33 weeks of 2007, KCSM reported cumulative volume of 356,640 cars, down 4.1% from last year, and 146,389 trailers or containers, up 13.8%. (AAR)