Although eight of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) saw increases, overall traffic was down 1.1% for the month, with the biggest decrease in lumber & wood products, off 16.8%. For the year to date, the category was the biggest loser, down 20.7%.
Other carload commodity categories with significant declines for the year to date include primary forest products (-13.0%), farm produces except for grain (-12.0%), crushed stone, sand & gravel (-10.6%) and stone, clay & glass products (-9.6%). The only commodities showing growth for the first 35 weeks of the year are petroleum products (5.7%), chemicals (2.3%) and coke (1.1%).
Intermodal traffic has had a decline for the year to date, down 1.9% for the year to date. Intermodal trailer traffic has declined 11.6% for the year to date while container unit freight climbed 1.2% to now.
“While the current reluctant economy continues to soften rail traffic volumes,” says AAR vice president, Craig F. Rockey, “preliminary GDP figure of 3.4% for the second quarter of 2007, up from 0.6% during the first quarter, is a hopeful signal of a return to a more solid expansion.”