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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: More volume gains for U.S. roads in January's third week


U.S. railroads have logged traffic gains for a second straight week, and two out of 2012’s first three weeks. During the week ending Jan. 21, they originated 287,734 carloads, up 1.6 percent, and 219,706 containers and trailers, up 3 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Fourteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by metallic ores (50.8 percent), petroleum products (26.8 percent), and motor vehicles and equipment (16.7 percent). Grain volume fell 10.7 percent and coal volume declined 3 percent.

Industrial-related traffic maintained its solid performance and intermodal showed stable growth, more than offsetting persistent weakness in agricultural products and a contraction in coal volumes, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Recent fourth-quarter reporting reflected continued uncertainty about coal demand in 2012, although recovering industrial end markets and secular drivers (i.e., intermodal and energy) should support slow [traffic] growth,” they said.
Meanwhile, for week No. 3, Canadian railroads reported 68,366 carloads, up 3.5 percent, and 48,092 intermodal loads, up 4.8 percent. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads tumbled 11 percent to 13,658 units, but their weekly intermodal volume jumped 27.6 percent to 9,007 units.
Through 2012’s first three weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 1.1 million carloads, up 0.8 percent, and 805,704 containers and trailers, up 1.4 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Jan. 21 and through three weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/27/2012