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3/8/2011



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR's February figures: U.S. carloads climbed for 12th-straight month, intermodal volume rose 15th-straight time


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In February, U.S. railroads originated 1.13 million carloads, up 4.2 percent compared with February 2010 volume — the 12th-straight month of year-over-year carload gains, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) latest monthly Rail Time Indicators report. Intermodal volume climbed 10.3 percent to 881,830 containers and trailers, marking the 15th-straight monthly gain.

However, February’s carload increase was the smallest since July 2010 as heavy snowfall over most of the nation impacted rail operations, the report states. Overall, 15 of 20 commodity categories registered gains, led by metallic ores, up 71.9 percent; non-metallic minerals, up 12.7 percent, and motor vehicles and parts, up 11.2 percent.

“Rising consumer confidence, an improving employment picture and higher manufacturing output are just some of the indicators that, along with rising rail volumes, point to an economy that seems poised to continue to grow in the months ahead,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, February carloads declined 3 percent and intermodal volume inched up 0.1 percent vs. January levels.

As of March 1, 306,316 freight cars — or 20.2 percent of the industry’s fleet — remained in storage, a decrease of 12,457 cars since Feb. 1, the report states.


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