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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: January marked 13th straight month of combined carloads, intermodal traffic gains


In January, U.S. carloads increased 8 percent to 1.2 million units compared with January 2010 volume, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) monthly Rail Time Indicators report. Intermodal traffic rose 7.4 percent to 863,099 units.

“This growth marks the 13th straight month that combined carloads and intermodal traffic have increased year over year, showing the continued gradual upward trend in rail traffic,” AAR officials said in the report.

Fifteen of 20 commodity categories registered gains, led by metallic ores, up 63 percent; primary metal products, up 21 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 16.2 percent. Chemicals volume averaged 30,184 carloads per week, up 5.9 percent vs. January 2010 and the highest monthly average for chemicals in any January since the AAR began tracking commodity traffic, the report states.

The five commodity categories that registered declines  — grain mill products, primary forest products, coke, nonmetallic minerals, and waste and non-ferrous scrap— together accounted for less than 8 percent of the month’s total carloads.

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