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AAR: U.S., Canadian carloads climbed by double digits in pre-holiday week


The second-to-last week in 2011 was a particularly good one for U.S. railroads. During the week ending Dec. 24, they originated 287,137 carloads, up 11.9 percent, and 217,952 containers and trailers, up 22.9 percent compared with volumes form the same week in 2010, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Sixteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by crushed stone, sand and gravel (59.7 percent), non-metallic minerals (39.6 percent) and petroleum products (36.4 percent).

The timing of the Christmas holiday relative to 2010 created an easier year-over-year comparison, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report. But despite the “obscured numbers,” underlying freight trends remained stable and support “a slow-growth trajectory in the near term,” they said.
Canadian railroads had a great week, too. Their originated carloads climbed 16.2 percent to 78,434, and intermodal volume jumped 21 percent to 47,741 units. For the week ending Dec. 24, Mexican railroads’ carloads rose only 2.7 percent to 13,451, but their intermodal volume shot up 42.8 percent to 8,068 units.
Through 2011’s first 51 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 19.5 million carloads, up 2.5 percent, and 14.6 million containers and trailers, up 5.3 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Dec. 24 and through 51 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/2/2012