OAKLAND, CA, March 7, 2014 (RISI) -North American forest products railroad freight for the week ending March 1 was down 5.3% from a year ago at 18,165 carloads, according to the Assn of American Railroads. Forest products carloads through nine weeks of 2014 at 159,907 carloads was 4.5% lower.
US forest products freight in the week was up 5.4%, Canada fell 19.5% and Mexico was down 41.9%, AAR showed.
Total North American rail freight was down 1,6% in the week and 1.8% year-to-date.
AAR reported mixed US rail traffic for the month of February 2014, with carload volume decreasing and intermodal volume increasing compared with 2013. Nine of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in February over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included grain, up 12.3%, and grain mill products, up 10.1%.
Commodity categories with carload declines last month included coal, down 3.5%, and primary metal products, down 7.2%.
"It would be nice to be able to separate out the effects of the harsh winter on rail traffic, but we can't do that. We can probably expect improvements in the rail numbers in the months ahead, assuming that the weather and the economy cooperate," AAR commented.