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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Intermodal rail volume reaches near-record in Week 20


The growth trend in U.S. freight-rail traffic continued during the week ending May 19, when railroads logged a 3.6 percent increase in carloads and intermodal units compared with the same week last year.

Total U.S. carloads for the week rose 1.2 percent to 261,273 units, while intermodal volume climbed 5.9 percent to 285,142 containers and trailers compared to a year ago period, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

The volume of intermodal traffic amounted to the third-highest week ever, AAR officials said in a press release.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases for the week over last year. They included included nonmetallic minerals, up 2,518 carloads to 40,836; chemicals, up 1,440 carloads to 31,862; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 986 carloads to 10,655.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2017 included grain, down 1,656 carloads to 22,225; motor vehicles and parts, down 778 carloads to 17,006; and coal, down 371 carloads to 78,519.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 83,575 carloads for the week, up 8.3 percent, and 70,974 intermodal units, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week in 2017. Mexican railroads posted 21,412 carloads for the week and 16,552 intermodal units.

For the first 20 weeks of the year:
• U.S. railroads reported total combined traffic of 10,584,987 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.6 percent over the 20-week period in 2017;
• Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,932,441 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.2 percent compared with the year-ago period; and
• Mexican railroads logged 757,233 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers. The AAR report did not include a comparison period for Mexican railroads.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/24/2018