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AAR weekly report: U.S. roads score more carloads for first time in 2010


It took three weeks, but U.S. railroads have registered their first year-over-year carload gain of 2010. During the week ending Jan. 23, they originated 277,420 carloads, up 3.9 percent, and 200,807 intermodal loads, up 2.9 percent compared with traffic from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Total volume rose 4.9 percent to an estimated at 30.2 billion ton-miles.

“Coal remains the exception to positive year-over-year volumes. While initial production schedules call for slightly negative year-over-year production in 2010 as stockpiles are worked down, continued colder-than-normal weather, improved steel/industrial production and elevated natural gas prices should bring stockpiles returning to normal levels by mid-year,” said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report. “Looking ahead, traffic comparisons will ease through the second quarter, and we expect volumes to remain stable to improving.”

Meanwhile Canadian and Mexican railroads continued to boost traffic in 2010. During the week ending Jan. 23, Canadian roads’ carloads jumped 13.5 percent to 73,354 units and intermodal volume increased 7.4 percent to 44,295 units; Mexican roads’ carloads surged 29.8 percent to 14,867 units and intermodal volume skyrocketed 41.6 percent to 6,960 units.

For more AAR weekly traffic data and cumulative figures through 2010’s first three weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2010