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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. roads made more traffic strides in 32nd week

Strong petroleum and grain business helped U.S. railroads boost traffic in August’s first full week. For the week ending Aug. 9, they registered 301,755 carloads, up 4.5 percent, and 266,153 intermodal units, up 3.2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total combined U.S. traffic rose 3.9 percent to 567,908 units. Eight of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 32.1 percent, grain at 26.5 percent and nonmetallic minerals at 9.6 percent. Coal carloads fell 2.6 percent and farm products traffic excluding grain and food declined 1.3 percent.

U.S. railroads likely will continue to garner a grain-traffic boost from corn in the second half based on a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast of a record crop. U.S. corn production is projected to reach a record 356.4 million tons with a highest-ever yield of 167 bushels per acre in 2014, according to the USDA.

Year to date — through 2014's first 32 weeks — U.S. railroads handled 9,221,860 carloads, up 3.7 percent, and 8,194,753 intermodal units, up 5.8 percent year over year.

For the week ending Aug. 9, Canadian railroads reported 81,995 carloads, up 7.3 percent, and 58,564 intermodal units, up 9.7 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads decreased 4.5 percent to 16,136 units but their intermodal volume increased 8.6 percent to 11,624 units.

Through 32 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 12,245,187 carloads, up 3.2 percent, and 10,324,037 containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/15/2014