Slower Growth For Rail

Year-to-date rail carloadings were up a mere 1.7% over the same period a year ago. Intermodal increased 6.4% during that same period.

Intermodal growth was 12.7% on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), followed by 10.7% growth in motor vehicles so far this year.

Canadian National also posted its strongest growth rate in intermodal, up 7.4%. Rival Canadian Pacific (CP) saw positive growth only in grain (up 6.9%) and chemicals (up 0.1%) year to date. Intermodal volume on the CP was down 2.6%.

CSX also struggled to produce growth, posting a year-to-date drop in total volumes of 0.2% led by a 6.3% decline in motor vehicle shipments. Coal, which rose 8.1% for the 22-week period when compared with 2004, was the only commodity to show positive growth.

Kansas City Southern (KCS) had double-digit growth in coal (19.4%) and pulp and paper (12.4%), giving it a 10.9% increase in commodity carloads. Intermodal, however, dropped 2.4%, bringing the KCS to a 6.6% total volume growth for the first 22 weeks of 2005.

Norfolk Southern experienced a 4.7% drop in motor vehicle volumes. Otherwise, it reported growth in each commodity. Intermodal was up 10.9%.

TFM, the Mexican railroad, had all positive numbers, led by 17.4% volume growth in metals. Intermodal increased 10.3%.

Union Pacific saw weak grain volumes, down 8.3%, and a drop in motor vehicle volumes (off 7.3%). Its intermodal traffic was up 2.4%.

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