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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. railroads' traffic volume has leveled off, AAR says


Although U.S. railroads registered traffic gains the past 12 weeks, it appears their volumes have leveled off, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the week ending May 22, U.S. roads originated 288,114 carloads, up 10.6 percent, and 215,118 intermodal loads, up 12.7 percent compared with totals from the same week last year.

Fifteen of 19 carload commodity groups posted year-over-year gains. Chemical volume continued a recent slide, which primarily can be chalked up to a seasonal decline, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“We will continue to monitor chemicals as a good leading indicator of the industrial economy,” Baird analysts said in the report.

For the week ending May 22, Canadian railroads reported 71,077 carloads, up 32.1 percent, and 49,261 containers and trailers, up 33.2 percent year over year. Mexican railroads increased carloads 13.4 percent to 14,713 units and boosted intermodal volume 35.5 percent to 7,020 units.

Through 2010’s first 20 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 7.3 million carloads, up 9.6 percent, and 5.1 million containers and trailers, up 10.9 percent compared with volume from the same period last year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending May 22 and through 20 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/28/2010