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AAR: U.S. carloads continue to fall while intermodal volume climbs


U.S. railroads reported another mixed traffic bag the week ending Nov. 10, originating 283,414 carloads, down 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year, but posting intermodal volume of 249,531 trailers and containers, up 1.9 percent  year over year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Twelve of 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with 2011, including petroleum products (up 45.5 percent), farm products excluding grain (up 24 percent) and motor vehicles and equipment (up 13.6 percent). However, metallic ores traffic tumbled 20.9 percent, coal volume declined 15.5 percent and grain carloads fell 9.8 percent.

Weekly carload volume for eastern railroads was down 5.7 percent year over year, while western railroads posted declines totaling 5.2 percent.

For 2012's first 45 weeks, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12.75 million carloads, down 3 percent compared with the same period last year, and 10.7 million trailers and containers, up 3.4 percent.

Canadian railroads' carloads held steady year over year at 76,208, while intermodal volume jumped 9 percent to 53,860 trailers and containers. During the year's first 45 weeks, Canadian railroads posted cumulative volume of 3.5 million carloads, up 2.1 percent, and 2.3 million trailers and containers, up 6.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Mexican railroads reported 15,155 carloads for the week, up 3.2 percent, and 10,319 trailers and containers, up 14.7 percent. Cumulative volume totaled 648,236 carloads and 450,899 trailers and containers, up 0.4 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively, year over year.

Through 2012's first 45 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 16,872,161 carloads, down 1.9 percent, and 13,475,696 trailers and containers, up 4.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2012