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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: Carloads down in U.S., up in Canada and Mexico


U.S. railroads didn’t regain carload-generating momentum the week after July 4. During the week ending July 16, they originated 281,387 carloads, down 0.3 percent compared with volume from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). However, their intermodal loads inched up 1.2 percent to 230,324 containers and trailers.
Fourteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by iron and steel scrap (up 34.8 percent), metals and products (18.7 percent) and petroleum products (18.3 percent). Waste and nonferrous scrap carloads tumbled 17.3 percent, coal traffic declined 6.7 percent and primary forest products loads dipped 5.8 percent.

Flooding continued to impact Powder River Basin coal traffic, but rail networks were stabilizing, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Export coal demand remains solid, with stabilizing domestic utility demand on normalizing utility stockpiles,” Baird analysts said in the report. “Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern are more bullish on the second-half domestic coal outlook.”
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 74,588, up 5.4 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 51,408 units, up 2.9 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads increased 9.4 percent to 13,931 units and intermodal volume shot up 73.5 percent to 9,323 units.
Through 2011’s first 28 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 10.6 million carloads, up 2.5 percent, and 7.8 million containers and trailers, up 6.7 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending July 16 and through 28 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/22/2011