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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR reports carload drop in week 18; RailAmerica and GWI report carload declines in April

During the week ending May 5, U.S. railroads originated 276,136 carloads, down 2 percent, and 239,031 containers and trailers, up 3 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Fourteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum products (47 percent), motor vehicles and equipment (31.2 percent), and lumber and wood products (23.1 percent). But grain volume fell 22.7 percent, farm products excluding grain volume tumbled 11.9 percent and coal volume declined 10.1 percent.
Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 81,102 units, up 4.1 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 54,659 units, up 9.4 percent year over year. For the week ending May 5, Mexican railroads’ carloads inched up 0.1 percent to 13,943 units and intermodal volume rose 9.7 percent to 8,522 units.
Through 2012’s first 18 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 6,699,707 carloads, down 1.7 percent, and 5,172,726 containers and trailers, up 4.2 percent compared with 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 5, log onto and scroll toward the bottom of the home page.

Meanwhile, RailAmerica Inc. reported that its subsidiary railroads handled 70,522 carloads in April, down 2.2 percent compared with April 2011. Motor vehicle loads skyrocketed 96.1 percent and petroleum loads jumped 16.8 percent, but coal volume fell 17.9 percent and metallic ores/metals volume dipped 8.1 percent.

Genesee & Wyoming Inc.'s (GWI) April carloads totaled 77,626, down 5.6 percent year over year. Metallic ores volume soared 59.5 percent and petroleum products volume jumped 19.6 percent, but coal and coke volume dropped 21.9 percent and autos/auto parts volume decreased 11.7 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/11/2012