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AAR: Crude-oil traffic slows in first-quarter 2015


Crude-by-rail traffic in the United States dropped off in first-quarter 2015, as Class Is reported a 13.7 percent decrease in crude-oil traffic compared with fourth-quarter 2014, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.  

U.S. Class I railroads originated 113,089 carloads of crude oil in the quarter, which was off by 17,982 carloads compared with last year's final quarter, according to AAR.

Also, overall U.S. railroad traffic continued its downward trend for the week ending May 16, with railroads logging total weekly traffic of 549,199 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year, AAR said.

Total carloads for the week were 269,092, down 10 percent compared with the same week in 2014, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 280,107 containers and trailers, up 4.9 percent.

Only one of the 10 commodity groups posted an increase during the week: Motor vehicles and parts traffic rose 1 percent to 19,021 carloads.

Canadian railroads posted 79,268 carloads for the week, down 8.3 percent. But intermodal traffic rose 5.3 percent to 64,098 units compared with the same week in 2014.

It was a different story in Mexico, however, where railroads reported growth in carloads and intermodal volumes. Mexican railroads posted 16,708 carloads for the week, up 2.6 percent, and 11,047 intermodal units, up 4.1 percent.

For the first 19 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads had a combined volume of 10,272,271 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 0.3 percent compared with the year-ago period. Canadian railroads had cumulative traffic volume of 2,627,089 carloads, containers and trailers, up 4.9 percent; and Mexican railroads had cumulative volume of 502,570 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 2.9 percent compared with the same point last year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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