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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: U.S. traffic tallies tumbled in week No. 34


After three relatively solid weeks in August, U.S. rail traffic weakened in the month’s fourth week, which ended Aug. 27. U.S. railroads originated 299,943 carloads, down 0.8 percent, and 236,051 containers and trailers, down 0.5 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Only 11 of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains. Waste and nonferrous scrap carloads fell 21.1 percent, farm products (excluding grain) traffic tumbled 20.5 percent and grain carloads declined 17 percent.

The rate of industrial products traffic growth has moderated the past month, increasing 4 percent in the week ending Aug. 27 vs. 9 percent growth in July, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report. However, industrial products growth continues to outpace all other rail commodities, “led largely by metal volumes with solid growth in stone, clay and glass, and lumber/wood,” Baird analysts said in the report.
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 76,863 carloads for the week, up 1 percent, and 51,698 containers and trailers, down 4.1 year over year. Mexican railroads increased weekly carloads 3.9 percent to 15,047 units and boosted intermodal volume 2.8 percent to 8,395 units.

Through 2011’s first 34 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 12.9 million carloads, up 2.2 percent, and 9.6 million containers and trailers, up 5.8 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Aug. 27 and through 34 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/2/2011