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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. railroads hit several traffic highs in June


In June, U.S. Class Is originated 1,177,655 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with June 2013's total, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

U.S. carloads averaged 294,414 per week — the highest weekly average for a June since 2008, AAR officials said in a press release. Monthly carload growth averaged 4.9 percent from March through June, the highest average for any four-month period since December 2010 through March 2011, they said.

Seventeen of 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR in June registered gains, led by grain at 16.5 percent, crushed stone, sand and gravel at 14.1 percent, petroleum and petroleum products at 8.6 percent, and motor vehicles and parts at 6.2 percent.

Meanwhile, intermodal traffic in June totaled 1,077,385 units, up 6.7 percent year over year. The month’s weekly average reached 269,346 units — the highest for any month in history, AAR officials said.

“All in all, June was another good month for rail traffic," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "The fact that most categories of rail traffic were up in June and that intermodal set a new volume record supports the view that the economy is rebounding at a decent pace."

For the week ending June 28, U.S. railroads originated 298,457 carloads, up 6.3 percent, and 264,766 intermodal units, up 6 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic rose 6.2 percent.

For the week ending June 28, Canadian railroads reported 83,442 carloads, up 11 percent, and 58,786 intermodal units, up 9.1 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads declined 4.8 percent to 16,287 units, but their intermodal volume increased 2.5 percent to 10,405 units.

Through 2014’s first 26 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 9,885,137 carloads, up 2.4 percent, and 8,347,165 containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with volumes from the same 2013 period.