Class I rail volumes for the week ending Dec. 13, 2003, were up 2.8% year-on-year, driven by continued strength in intermodal traffic. Economically sensitive traffic increased 4.2% for the same period.
Motor vehicle loadings were down 6.5% and should continue to be an issue for railroads in the first quarter.
General Motors Corp. says production will be down 7% in first-quarter 2004. Ford Motor Co. predicts flat production. And DaimlerChrysler says production will increase 7.3%.
Commodity carloadings, which account for over three-fourths of rail volume, were up a mere 0.4% in week 50 or 0.3% year to date. Intermodal traffic showed a 6.6% increase for the week and was up 6.8% YTD.