U.S. Freight Traffic Posted Small Drop Last Week

Unexpected downturn in intermodal traffic drove U.S. weekly freight down 1 percent last week compared with a comparable week of a year earlier.

The Association of American Railroads reported at intermodal volume fell 2.4 percent when compared with 2014 levels

The drop in intermodal traffic offset a 0.3 percent gain for other freight carload traffic.

The AAR said five of the 10 carload commodity groups that it measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2014.

“This is a one week snapshot and it would be premature to make any assumptions from one point in time,” said an AAR spokesperson. “Even though intermodal traffic was down for the week ending Jan. 17 compared to the same week in 2014, it is still the second-highest January intermodal week in rail industry history. If anything, this is part of normal week-to-week fluctuations.”

In the meantime, the Surface Transportation Board reported this week that Class I railroad employment as in mid-December rose 4.93 percent to 170,841, from mid-December 2013.

Class I railroads added 96 positions since mid-November 2014.

Most of the gain in employment came in train and engine crews, which rose 8.62 percent measured against levels of a year ago.

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