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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. rail traffic strong vs. weak 2011 comparison period


During the week ending Feb. 4, U.S. railroads originated 284,546 carloads, up 6.2 percent, and 232,590 containers and trailers, up 16.8 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, when traffic was affected by significant winter weather events, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Sixteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by metallic ores (63.2 percent), motor vehicles and equipment (42 percent), and petroleum products (40.5 percent).

Although last year’s severe winter weather impacted year-over-year comparisons, “absolute carloads are solid and trending near 2008 levels,” said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Strong growth in autos, chemicals and intermodal led the week, more than offsetting persisting weakness in ag and recent coal volume weakness,” they said.
Canadian railroads reported 77,225 weekly carloads, up 13.5 percent, and 51,262 intermodal loads, up 15.4 percent. For the week, Mexican railroads’ carloads dipped 0.4 percent to 13,152 units, but their intermodal volume climbed 19.1 percent to 9,299 units.
Through 2012’s first five weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 1.9 million carloads, up 1.6 percent, and 1.4 million containers and trailers, up 5.2 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Feb. 4 and through five weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/10/2012