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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. carloads climbed, intermodal loads fell last week


In February’s first full week, U.S. railroads’ carloadings rose, but their intermodal volume dropped, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data. During the week ending Feb. 11, the roads originated 279,501 carloads, up 1.7 percent, and 227,207 intermodal units, down 0.4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year.
Twelve of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum products (29.9 percent), crushed stone, sand and gravel (27.2 percent), and metallic ores (23.7 percent). Agricultural products volume increased 1 percent, the second consecutive weekly gain after volume had contracted for most of the first quarter, a continuation of a weakening trend that began in 2011’s second half because of higher grain prices and a smaller crop yield, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Export expectations were raised by the USDA given weaker corn and soybean crops in South America,” Baird analysts said in the report.
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 77,735, up 11.9 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 53,074 units, up 10.9 percent year over year. During the week ending Feb. 11, Mexican railroads’ carloads declined 2.4 percent to 13,176 units, but their intermodal volume climbed 20.5 percent to 8,694 units.

Through 2012’s first six weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 2.2 million carloads, up 1.9 percent, and 1.7 million containers and trailers, up 4.6 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Feb. 11 and through six weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/17/2012