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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. coal volume sagged to lowest year-over-year percentage drop last month


In April, U.S. railroads originated 1,113,105 carloads, down 5.5 percent, and 946,951 containers and trailers, up 3.6 percent compared with April 2011 figures, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Twelve of 20 commodity categories registered carload gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products (43.1 percent), motor vehicles and parts (21.1 percent), crushed stone, gravel and sand (9.3 percent), and steel and other primary metal products (8.1 percent).

Coal carloads fell 16.6 percent — the largest year-over-year percentage decline on record, according to the AAR — and grain traffic dropped 17.2 percent. Excluding coal and grain, U.S. carloads rose 6.7 percent in April.
During the week ending April 28, U.S. railroads originated 283,080 carloads, down 4.1 percent, and 242,365 containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year. Canadian railroads’ weekly carloads increased 1.6 percent to 81,118 units and intermodal volume rose 9.6 percent to 53,477 units, while Mexican railroads’ carloads inched up 0.9 percent to 14,960 units and intermodal volume soared 31.5 percent to 10,131 units.
Through 2012’s first 17 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 6,328,526 carloads, down 1.7 percent, and 4,870,514 containers and trailers, up 4.2 percent compared with volumes from the same 2011 period.

For more AAR traffic data breakdowns on April and the week ending April 28, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/4/2012