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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Another intermodal up, carloads down week for U.S. rail traffic

Carloadings continue to crimp U.S. railroads’ traffic fortunes. For the week ending May 19, they originated 280,565 carloads, down 5 percent compared with volume from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Carload volume tumbled 4.5 percent in the East and 5.3 percent in the West.

Twelve of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum products (49.4 percent), motor vehicles and equipment (23.3 percent), and lumber and wood products (17.9 percent). But non-metallic mineral volume fell 16.3 percent, coal traffic declined 16.1 percent and coke carloads decreased 8.6 percent.
At least the other side of the traffic equation continued its upward climb. For the week ending May 19, U.S. intermodal loads totaled 241,664 units, up 3.1 percent year over year.
For the same week, Canadian railroads reported 80,314 carloads, up 6.6 percent, and 53,042 containers and trailers, up 8.8 percent; while Mexican railroads reported 13,813 carloads, down 3.4 percent, and 10,081 containers and trailers, up 13.4 percent.
Through 2012’s first 20 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 7,447,035 carloads, down 1.8 percent, and 5,778,615 containers and trailers, up 4.2 percent compared with volumes from the same 2011 period.

To access graphics provided by ASI-Transmatch that show changes to and depict trends in AAR weekly carloading data through May 19, log onto and scroll toward the bottom of the home page.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/25/2012