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North American rail volume for the week ending Dec. 16 climbed 7.8 percent to 733,320 carloads and intermodal units compared with volume in the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).Thirteen U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads hauled 363,454 carloads during the week, a 6 percent year-over-year increase. Intermodal units totaled 369,866 units, up 9.7 percent, AAR officials said in a press release.U.S. railroads logged 554,779 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week rose 4.1 percent to 265,169 units, while intermodal volume increased 7.6 percent to 289,610 containers and trailers. Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2016. They included nonmetallic minerals, up 6,158 carloads to 34,003; chemicals, up 2,436 carloads to 32,224; and metallic ores and metals, up 2,178 carloads to 23,137.Commodity groups posting decreases compared with a year ago were grain, down 795 carloads to 23,571; farm products excluding grain and food, down 641 carloads to 15,651; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 453 carloads to 10,639.Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 81,454 carloads for the week, up 11.3 percent; and 69,454 intermodal units, up 21.1 percent compared with the same week in 2016. Mexican railroads moved 6,831 carloads for the week, up 12.3 percent, and 10,802 intermodal units, up 3.4 percent. For the first 50 weeks of 2017 compared with a year ago:• U.S. railroads reported total combined traffic of 26,541,362 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.4 percent;• Canadian railroads posted cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,308,138 carloads, containers and trailers, up 10.8 percent; • Mexican railroads logged 1,378,385 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 1.7 percent; and• North American rail traffic totaled 35,227,885 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.8 percent.