Rail traffic stats a mixed bag
The Association of American Railroads said Monday that May rail carloads rose 15.8 percent compared with last year, but still down 11.8 percent compared with May 2008.
The trade group said intermodal traffic was up 18.9 percent last month compared with May 2009, and down 3.8 percent compared with May 2008.
“May's rail traffic numbers continue to show mixed results,' said John Gray, AAR senior vice president. “Intermodal traffic has now risen for three straight months, but carloads in May 2010 were actually down a bit from April 2010. Several economic indicators this month, including unemployment, reinforce the fact that the economy still has a long way to go to full recovery.'
Of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by AAR, 18 posted gains compared with the same month last year. Coal, the single-highest volume commodity carried by railroads, showed a notable increase last month, up 6.8 percent compared with 2009.
'Coal exports in the first quarter of 2010 are up 31 percent over the first quarter of 2009,' Gray said. 'That coupled with decreasing coal stockpiles has fueled notable increases this month in coal traffic. However, even after these gains, coal volumes are still significantly below where they were in 2008.'