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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: Carload volume crept up for North American roads


In August’s first week, U.S. railroads registered “modest” traffic gains, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the week ending Aug. 6, they originated 287,321 carloads, up 0.4 percent, and 235,568 containers and trailers, up 1.9 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year.
Thirteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by iron and steel scrap (up 37.6 percent), metal and products (up 14.2 percent), and farm products, excluding grain (up 13.6 percent).

However, intermodal growth slowed as volumes were impacted by weaker international imports “on expectations for a later, more compressed peak season,” said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“That said, recent weeks’ volumes were only modestly below seasonal [levels] when compared to second-quarter averages,” they said.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 72,493 units, up 2.3 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 47,353 containers and trailers, down 4.3 percent compared year over year. During the week ending Aug. 6, Mexican railroads increased carloads 1.6 percent to 13,918 units and boosted intermodal volume 23.9 percent to 9,034 units.
Through 2011’s first 31 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 11.7 million carloads, up 2.3 percent, and 8.7 million containers and trailers, up 6.3 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Aug. 6 and through 31 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/12/2011