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3/8/2013



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. traffic tallies: Intermodal climbed, carloads contracted again in February


Similar to January, U.S. rail traffic registered mixed results in February. Originated carloads totaled 1,113,843, down 1.1 percent, while intermodal traffic reached 983,078 units, up 10.5 percent compared with February 2012, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Intermodal's percentage gain represented the biggest year-over-year monthly increase since December 2010, and the weekly average of 245,770 intermodal units set a February record, AAR officials said in a press release.

"Rail intermodal traffic continues to grow. In February, year-over-year intermodal volume on U.S. railroads rose for the 39th straight week, and February saw the first double-digit, year-over-year increase in two years," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray.

Excluding coal loads (which declined 4.8 percent) and grain loads (which fell 17.8 percent), carloads rose 4.5 percent year over year. Commodities that posted large gains included petroleum and petroleum products (64.2 percent), crushed stone, gravel and sand (17.2 percent), and lumber and wood products (10.4 percent).

For the week ending March 2, U.S. railroads originated 283,819 carloads, up 0.2 percent, and 249,238 intermodal units, up 9.7 percent year over year.

Canadian railroads' weekly carloads rose 5.3 percent to 80,495 units and intermodal volume climbed 13.1 percent to 52,734 units, while Mexican railroads' carloads jumped 15.6 percent to 15,603 units and intermodal volume shot up 33.2 percent to 10,628 units.

Through 2013's first nine weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 3,274,238 carloads, down 2.3 percent, and 2,696,411 containers and trailers, up 7.2 percent compared with volumes from the same 2012 period.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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