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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic up 4.7 percent; AAR comments on Trump tax plan

AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger commented on President Trump's tax reform plan.
Photo – AAR

U.S. railroads moved 515,131 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 22, a 4.7 percent increase compared with the same week a year ago, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.

Total carloads for the week rose 11.6 percent to 257,283 units, compared with the same week in 2016. However, total intermodal volume declined to 1.3 percent to 257,848 containers and trailers compared with intermodal volume a year ago.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 30.9 percent to 76,864 carloads; grain, up 28.7 percent to 23,521 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 12.8 percent to 25,194 carloads.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included motor vehicles and parts, down 11 percent to 17,030 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 8.9 percent to 10,346 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, down 6.4 percent to 8,913 carloads.

For the first 16 weeks of this year, U.S. railroads' cumulative volume climbed 3.8 percent to 8,259,253 carloads and intermodal units compared with the same period in 2016.

Canadian railroads posted 82,040 carloads for the week, up 19.9 percent, and 65,938 intermodal units, up 8.2 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 16 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,254,074 carloads, containers and trailers, up 9.6 percent.

Mexican railroads logged 15,704 carloads for the week, down 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,449 intermodal units, up 5.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 16 weeks of 2017 was 418,778 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.5 percent from the same point last year.

Meanwhile, AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger issued a statement on President Donald Trump's proposed tax reform plan, which was unveiled yesterday.

"The freight-rail industry applauds [yesterday's] bold step toward restoring balance to our tax code and reducing the corporate rate to a globally competitive level," said Hamberger.

The major freight railroads pay on average a 33.5 percent effective tax rate, which climbs to 37 percent when state taxes are included, he said.

"For the privately-owned rail industry, a more competitive business tax rate means a more competitive freight rail sector, which leads to more investments and a stronger network to serve customers and the economy," Hamberger added.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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